Make Good Health a Family Affair

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With the growing problem of obesity in the United States, striving for good health might best be done by making exercise and diet a family affair.

Mayo Clinic staff reports suggest treatment and prevention of childhood (and adult) obesity begins at home. Eating too much and not getting enough exercise usually cause obesity. A change in diet and exercise habits can solve the problem, but children can't do it by themselves. Changing family habits is the best way to treat and prevent childhood obesity. Chances are, parents will benefit from weight loss and exercise, too.

A 2008 report by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates more than 20 percent of adults are obese in every state except Colorado, making about two-thirds of American adults overweight or obese. An estimated 23 million children are either overweight or obese.

Generally, people who weigh more than 10 percent of their ideal body weight are considered to be overweight. A person 30 or more pounds over their ideal body weight is considered obese. Excess weight contributes to serious health problems such as diabetes, kidney failure, heart attacks from high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Asthma also is likely for overweight children.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 15 percent of American children are overweight. At the current rate of increase, the figure will soon total one-third of all children. With a continued increase, the NIH estimates more than 50 million Americans could have diabetes by 2050.