Creating Healthy Kid Behaviors Only Takes Simple Steps

Creating Healthy Kid Behaviors Only Takes Simple Steps

Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/02/2021 -- In the last year, lifestyle changes sparked by societys reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to more time at home, more time in front of a screen and a propensity for more frequent snacking. We call it the COVID diet, said Daniel Cannon, MD, pediatrician with Intermountain Healthcare Red Rock Pediatrics in St. George, Utah. Weve seen a real uptick in weight gain in a lot of kids. Although the problem may have increased due to factors related to COVID-19-era lifestyles, its definitely not the first time medical professionals have seen this problem. Childhood obesity is basically an epidemic, Dr. Cannon said. The problem stems from an increasingly unhealthy lifestyle in children and adolescents; behaviors sometimes learned from generations of family obesity. Other times the cause may be a lack of education on the topic of health, poverty, home environment, accessibility of healthcare and healthy nutrition, and more. We call these social determinants of health, Dr. Cannon said, adding that these determinants and others are screened for and discussed at each well visit in order to identify concerning trends before they become a problem.We try to be as objective and straight forward as possible, talking about what is healthy and what is not, said Dr. Cannon.Even so, discussing issues such as obesity with impressionable minds can be complicated. Dr. Cannon saif he and his colleagues are careful to emphasize healthy behaviors, rather than focusing on reaching a number on the scale. I try to focus on simple goals that are very specific, explained Dr. Cannon. For example, a lot of kids struggle with too much sugar in their diet — either eating or drinking it. We talk about replacing some of those sugary drinks with water and increasing water consumption for a specific amount of time. When it comes to increasing activity in children and young adults, Dr. Cannon said it is best to find something the child is interested in and build activity around that. It doesnt really matter what they do as long as theyre doing something, he said. If they like walking their dog, we set a goal to walk the dog three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. Its these kinds of behaviors and more that the national Every Kid Healthy Week focuses on as well. As part of an annual observance to celebrate school health and wellness achievements, Every Kid Healthy encourages schools and parents to focus on healthy behaviors th

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