Based on recent findings, childhood obesity has a higher prevalence among the United States kids during summer break. In the latest study, a group of researchers has monitored over 18,000 children since kindergarten to the beginning of the third grade.
They discovered that the overweight rates increased from twenty-three percent to twenty-nine percent during the study period. Also, the rates of childhood obesity raised from nine percent to 11.5 percent.
This data was collected over a two-summer period, so it did not include the school year as well. According to Paul von Hippel, co-author from the University of Texas, teachers have always been concerned that summer breaks are the ideal time for knowledge loss, and it seems that it is also a short period during which children are more likely to gain more than a couple of pounds.
These findings suggest that policymakers and parents must take active measures in encouraging children to adopt healthier behaviors during the three-month-long summer vacation in order to prevent weight gain, which is clearly unhealthy.
Moreover, von Hippel stresses that focusing on what young children are doing during school time is not enough to tackle the obesity epidemic which hits the highest rates during summer. He adds that public health care officials, teachers, and parents must join their efforts to support a widely-spread initiative designed to inform and educate these children about the risks and consequences of childhood obesity.
Although some parents help their kids regulate their sleep schedule and reduce media use during the school year, they should stick to these methods during summer break as well in order to prevent their children from gaining weight.
Experts stress that summer vacation should be a period full of recreational activities which would aim to promote healthy behaviors. Childhood obesity may lead to long-term consequences for kids including a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Public health care officials stress the importance of a healthy combination of improved dietary habits and physical exercises. There is almost no risk of childhood obesity among kids who do at least 150 minutes of physical exercises every week and follow a healthy diet.
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