Childhood Obesity Awareness Month; a local doctor’s recommendations

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SAYRE, Pa. (WETM) — As September comes to a close, so does Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are obese.

Dr. Verlyn Warrington, Director of Bariatric Medicine at Guthrie, said many factors are to blame for childhood obesity. However, the answer is on the plate.

“There are a lot of very quick, convenient foods,” said Dr. Warrington. “There are lots of very busy parents who tend to have more convenient foods. Then, there’s the issue of how much access there is to physical activity.”

Dr. Warrington with a message to parents.

“It starts at home,” said Dr. Warrington. “It starts at the dinner table. [Parents should] make sure kids have three nutritious, well balanced meals. Avoid processed foods and make sure that those children are eating adequate portions of fresh fruits and vegetables. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges I see with children who struggle with weight. They don’t eat vegetables.”

The coronavirus pandemic has been another contributing factor to obesity as children were more sedentary. However, there are solutions.

“We need to think about how we [can] support parents to be able to provide those meals,” said Dr. Warrington. “When we think about keeping children active, it doesn’t have to be an exercise program. [Parents should ask] ‘can we go for an after dinner walk together as a family?’ ‘Can we have a dance party at the house?’ Just get those children up off the couch and moving.”

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