Mom Erika Howell is bringing up her two kids the way she was raised.
“As a child I grew up outside, playing really until - really it was dark, until my parents called me inside. And we like to encourage that for them,” says Howell.
More parents may be adopting that approach. For the first time in a decade the federal government saw a dramatic drop in childhood obesity; down 43% among children 2 to 5 years old.
“Actively involved parents is key,” says Dr. Nancy Witham, who is a pediatrician for Lee Memorial Health System.
The results couldn’t come too soon for Dr. Witham. A pediatrician with Lee Memorial Health System, she is already managing children at risk for serious health conditions because of their weight.
“Children are getting conditions that were formally thought of as being adult conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. We’re also seeing high blood pressure. We see heart disease. We see fatty liver disease. We see gallbladder disease,” says Dr. Witham.
Children in this age group are only a fraction of the overall US population. But it is a starting point, an indicator that we may be turning a corner in the battle of the bulge.
Contributing to the change: children are drinking fewer sugary drinks. Something doctors have targeted.
“Zero sweetened drinks. And that includes excessively sweetened sweet tea, sweet sodas, any of those things,” says Dr. Witham.
At the same time, kids are encouraged to amp up their activity.
“We do discuss a lot with our pediatrician, they do mention at least an hour a day. We like to make sure that our kids are active rather than sitting in the house gaining weight, eating junk food,” says Howell.
Setting a good example for future generations.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.