Childhood obesity can be beaten with proper education

Maryland

"If we don't let our kids move, then we have failed them."

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity is a complex issue and is overall increasing across the nation. But, it can be measured through the Body Mass Index, or BMI for age. It’s a fine line between percentiles if a kid is considered overweight or obese.

“Such as obesity that’s the main one but that’s what you see on the outside, we start to question what’s going on on the inside of the body too,” said Pediatric Movement Center’s Director of Operations Courtney Young. “We are concerned about the demands on their internal organs just to perform everyday life skills.”

Hagerstown’s very own Pediatric Movement Center services the community in many different ways, but mostly promotes kids to never stop moving. The PMC staff says children under three years of age should not be still for more than 15-to-20 minutes at a time, and children over three should have 60-to-90 minutes of vigorous activity a day.

“I wonder if we’re asking them to fill shoes that are too big for them,” said Pediatric Movement Center Physical Therapist Nicole Sergent. “So when we ask a five-year-old to sit still for eight hours in school, they’re going to wiggle. They’re going to pick at their desk, they’re going to turn around backwards in their chair because their body will seek out the movement that it’s not getting and if we don’t give it to them, then we are the ones failing them.”

According to the PMC staff, a cause of childhood obesity could be attributed to how American culture has changed. Kids are encouraged to sit still, watch a movie, or play on iPads when really they should be out moving.

“The easiest thing to do is actually just lighten your schedule a little bit and honestly do less,” said Sergent. “Just give them scheduled time during the day to do nothing where an adult isn’t hovering and giving them rules so they can make their own choices, take their own risks and build their own confidence.”

According to the CDC, a child is determined to be overweight if their BMI is between the 85th-to-95th percentile. But, a child may be obese if their BMI is at or above the 95th percentile.

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