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NAN: Childhood Obesity

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The Centers for Disease Control report that 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the United States are affected by obesity.Obese children are likely to become obese adults. Children who are obese are at a greater risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing and joint problems, low self-esteem and impaired social, emotional and physical functioning. Obesity can also lead to heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer. 

A child is defined as obese if he is well above the normal or healthy weight for his age and height. Contributing factors to childhood obesity include behavior, such as dietary patterns and medications, physical activity level, genetics, food marketing and food promotion, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  

Nannies can combat obesity by encouraging physical activity, offering nutritious meals and snacks and ensuring that portion sizes are appropriate. Nannies should encourage children to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day and to eat a healthy diet that emphasizes eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat and fat-free dairy products and drinking water as laid out by the Dietary Guidelines and Physical Activity guidelines for Americans. 

While obesity is a real problem, it’s important for nannies to be aware that children should not be put on calorie restricted diets unless a physician has recommended the child be placed on a diet, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Childhood Obesity