Childhood obesity rates, steadily skyrocketing since the 80s. have levelled off in recent years, according to a recent study by St. Luke's-Roosevelt. But health experts say that doesn't mean the fight is over.
Dr. Steve Crouch, a pediatric hospitalist with Stormont-Vail HealthCare, says the headline needs to be the big battle that still looms ahead. He says many of America's kids are still eating too much and obesity remains a huge problem.
The Centers for Disease Control says one in every three kids is overweight, and 16 percent are obese. Crouch says trimming those numbers starts with getting kids moving. This summer, he suggests, aim for no more than one hour of screen time a day - that's TV, computers and video games.
Dr. Crouch said encourage kids to spend more time outside. He says, no matter what the season, children should enjoy active pursuits - go swimming, ride a bike or get a group of kids together to play baseball or football.
The second step is to eat better. Dr. Crouch says busy families should plan ahead and pack sandwiches and fruit, rather than hitting the fast food drive through. He also suggests keeping healthy snacks on hand at home and making a rule that the only places to eat are in the dining room and kitchen. Dr. Crouch says, in general, families should strive to eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables.
Extra pounds can create lifelong health problems. Dr. Crouch says he's seen an increase in type two diabetes in children directly related to weight problems.