Many factors can contribute to a person’s weight, including genetics, family habits, ethnicity, and culture. Childhood obesity is a serious health issue in the United States. Unfortunately, many children who struggle with their weight continue their struggle into adulthood.
At MS Family Medicine Health Care PC in Rosedale and Garden City, New York, Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, and our team have helped many patients get control of their weight through our family medicine services.
Because September is National Childhood Obesity Month, we want to share with you some factors that can contribute to childhood obesity and what you can do to promote health for you and your family.
Obesity tends to run in families, so there appears to be a link between genetics and weight struggles. Children have a greater risk of developing obesity if one or both parents struggle with obesity. Your genes may also play a role in how much extra fat your body stores and where your body stores it.
2. Family habits
In addition to your genes, you can also pass along your food likes, eating habits, and level of activity to your children. If you eat mostly foods high in calories, fat, and sugar, your kids likely will, too. If you spend your downtime watching TV, your kids likely will as well.
Family habits and routines can also contribute to childhood obesity.
3. Psychological factors
Like adults, children may turn to food as a means of coping with stress or uncomfortable feelings. They may also eat out of boredom.
4. Where you live
Socioeconomic factors can also contribute to childhood obesity. Families that live in neighborhoods without a supermarket nearby may have no other choice than to pack the kitchen with processed foods that have a long shelf life. They may also find it more economical to eat fast food.
Where you live may also make it hard to fit in physical activity, especially if you live in an area that’s not safe or doesn’t have a park close by for kids to play. The weather may also make it hard for physical activity if it’s too hot or too cold for outdoor activities.
5. Diet and exercise
Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are obvious factors that can contribute to childhood obesity. However, diet and exercise can depend on a lot of factors that aren’t always in a child’s control, such as family routines and habits as well as socioeconomic factors.
Obesity is a complex disease, especially in children. If you have concerns about your child’s weight or your own, we can help. We offer nutrition counseling through our wellness and preventative care service and can provide guidance to help you and your family.
To learn how you or your child can attain a healthy weight, book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.