A Growing Epidemic “The percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate, with 1 out of 3 kids now considered overweight or obese” (CDC). Childhood obesity is a medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when the caloric expenditure is less than the intake of calories. This caloric uptake leads to the child’s weight being well above the average for their height and age. Often the terms overweight and obesity get confused because people do not know the proper definitions for them. These terms can get used interchangeably or more often than not a parent will believe that their child is just overweight, and not obese. “The definition of obesity: is an abnormal accumulation of body fat, usually 20% or more over an individual's ideal body weight” (CDC). To diagnose childhood obesity the best way is to do a body mass index test (BMI). BMI is an acceptable way to determine if a child is overweight as long as the child is two years or older. The normal BMI ranges for children vary with age and sex. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define obesity as a BMI greater than or equal to the 95th percentile”. To be completely sure about your child’s health and wether they are at a proper weight be sure to contact your doctor. Childhood obesity is not only is a serious medical condition but is also becoming a serious epidemic. Childhood obesity has a significant impact on the child’s self-esteem. “ A study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found that obese girls ages 13 to 14 are four times more likely to experience low self-esteem than non-obese girls” (Levey 1). If mental health issues weren’t bad enough, “children are now suffering from health aliments that were once just dealt with by adults such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol” (CDC). The main causes of childhood obesity stem from children sitting in front of the t.v. more often than playing outside. Diet is an important factor as well. Many families today are too busy to prepare nutritious meals and often opt for fast, cheap, convenient meals through a drive-thru. The best way to prevent childhood obesity is to change the diet and exercise regiment of your whole family. Start preparing meals as a family and teach your children about proper portion size. Portion size can be taught by showing a deck of cards to represent the amount of meat they should eat or by dividing the plate according to the amount of vegetables, grains, protein, and fruit they should eat. Another trick is to use a smaller plate to make it look full and trick your brain into thinking you are eating a larger amount than you really are. The second step is to get your family more active. Why sit in front of the t.v as a family when you could be outside building memories with your child? You and your family can go on a walk, play ball, walk the dog, go to the park, or even trick your kids into playing games that are disguised as exercise. A good example of exercise in disguise is a new growing trend that has kids going off the walls, literally. It is called parkour. “Parkour makes the urban landscape your personal obstacle course, a playground for strength, freedom, courage and discipline” (Lawrence, Cameron). This is just one example of getting your kids to become more active without spending money, and something that they would enjoy doing. Just a few changes to your families lifestyle can make an impact on their health. Treating childhood obesity helps protect your child’s health now and in the future. So what are you waiting for,? Go get your kids and play today! Bibliography "Childhood Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 7 2012. Web. 17 Oct 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm> Lawrence, Cameron. "How Parkour Works" 02 May 2006. HowStuffWorks.com. <http:// adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/urban-sports/parkour.htm> 17 October 2012. Levey, Amy. "EurekAlert." EurekAlert. (2003): 1. Print. <http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-10/apa-ocb100103.php>.