According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one in three children are overweight or obese in North Carolina. The State of Obesity found that about 30 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds were overweight or obese in 2016. The most common factors that contribute to childhood obesity are increased sugar consumption and a sedentary lifestyle.
Much of the processed food that is made with children in mind is packed with added sugar, and a diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain and other chronic diseases like diabetes. Just changing something as small as everyday drink choices can significantly lower a child’s sugar intake. For example, juice is a common drink choice for kids, but many times it can contain more sugar than a can of soda! Switching to low- or no-sugar-added drinks, such as flavored or sparkling water, milk and plain water, and limiting sweet beverages to special occasions, can make a big impact on your child’s nutrition.
As of 2016, the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance found that only about 21 percent of 6- to 19-year-old children and adolescents in the United States got the recommended 60 or more minutes of physical activity at least five days per week. Physical activity is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, as it helps our body process food properly and can help prevent the development of chronic illnesses. If children are inactive, it is important for them to begin a regular exercise routine tailored to their physical capabilities. For example, jumping jacks are a good full-body workout that can be done at home.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of pediatric specialists and registered dietitians dedicated to helping patients and families develop and maintain healthy, balanced diets that work for them and fit into their lifestyles.
Jennifer Badik, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist at Pediatric Specialists at Wendover Ave and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Badik earned her Doctor of Medicine at Temple University in 2006. She completed her residency in pediatrics at University of Arizona in 2009, and completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at Emory University in 2012.