Weighing Your Options Part 1

In today's society many are looking at the days of dealing with battle of the bulge different way.

The American Obesity Association says there are a number of factors that contribute to childhood and adolescent obesity.

Those include lack of physical activity, sedentary behavior, income, eating habits, and environment.

Psychologists and dietitians say fighting the battle of the bulge begins with education and it's never too early to begin.

Lorie Hagan, a dietitian, says: "In the last 20 years with children, and that's about six to 11, the obesity problem has actually doubled. With adolescents it has actually tripled over the last 20 years, so we're seeing a large epidemic here."

With childhood obesity rates skyrocketing many are concerned about the future of the next generation.

Dr. Bill Pfohl, a psychologist, says: "Some of the new research indicates that it starts very early that it's not something that starts in five and six year olds it really starts with overfeeding infants."

Dr. Pfohl says sometimes parents just give up trying to make their kids eat healthy.

He says: "Many times a kid says 'Yuck i hate fruit, i hate vegetables, give me a donut, give me some fries." Those tend to be the things the kids will eat, so therefore parents say I'll just go ahead and give them what they'll eat. I won't try and force them to eat the other stuff and those patterns start again early in life."

Dr. Pfohl says to convince kids that healthy food can taste good it starts with the family unit.

While many think of the physical attributes associated with obesity, dietitians are concerned with the health issues associated with over-eating.

Hagan says she's seeing more children with type 2 diabetes, which normally develops in adults.

In this type of diabetes the body has too little insulin or cannot use it effectively.

Hagan says: "There are other problems, physical problems that people may not think about like bone and joint pain, sleep apnea, those kinds of things."

To get started dietitians recommend measuring out your food to the serving size on the labels.

Hagan says: "Just controlling the amounts can help to get fewer calories and help with weight loss."

If the recommended portion sizes don't fill you up until the next meal Hagan says you may have to eat several, smaller meals throughout the day.

Doctor Pfohl says the one thing to remember that both sticking with healthy eating habits and weight loss takes time.

He says: "This is not going to be fixed in a couple of weeks or a couple of months which most parents think it will because the kids will regain the weight because they'll go back to old habits."

Dietitians say that along with a good diet, exercise is needed to keep you and your children healthy.

They say getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day is key and even simple things like taking a walk can help.

For more information about childhood obesity you can log onto www.obesity.org.