Fighting Childhood Obesity

9 years 9 months 5 days ago August 16, 2007 Aug 16, 2007 Thursday, August 16 2007 Thursday, August 16, 2007 4:43:49 PM CDT in News

And now that's a little easier for parents thanks to kid specific gyms. NBC's Brad Drazen has the story. This is my gym in West Hartford. A place where kids come to have fun and work out.

"There's free play and then there's structure time and she loves learning all the different gymnastic moves and different exercises." mother Amy Damato said.

Amy Damato's 3 and a half year old, Katie, loves coming to the gym. For the instructors here, that's a mission accomplished.

"It's great because the kids are at such a young age. We start at age 6 weeks and go all the way up to 13 years, so you get that wide range of age groups and you get those kids in great habits right away." director Sarah Mayne said.

And given the rapidly increasing rates of childhood obesity.. starting these habits early is essential says doctor Elizabeth Estrada from the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

"Exercise is definitely a very important component of prevention of obesity and it's important at every age." CT Children's Medical Center's Dr. Elizabeth Estrada said.

Dr. Estrada warns if a child falls victim to obesity he or she faces a long list of potential problems... The biggest being type two diabetes.

"The problems we haven't seen in children up until a decade ago we are now seeing very frequently."

But that's something this mom is hoping to prevent by teaching her daughter important life lessons about fitness.

"Our family tries to incorporate that into our daily life. You know, eating healthy and just getting out to exercise instead of just being the couch potatoes."

It's a message that will hopefully leap forward into the next generation.

Turns out you don't have to hit the gym 7 days a week to get healthier. A new study of over 100 sedentary people ages 40 to 60 compared the effects of 30 minutes of brisk walking three days a week versus maintaining their more couch potato lifestyle. After 12 weeks, those who walked had a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and were able to shave a few centimeters off their hips and waist. Researchers say even small advances in overall fitness goes a long way in reducing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The food and drug administration is warning parents not to give their small children over-the-counter cold and cough medicine. The advisory comes as part of a broader review of the safety and effectiveness of such drugs in children under age 2. The FDA has reported serious problems can occur if too much of the medication is given, or given too often. According to the FDA advisory, officials also strongly warn parents never to give children adult medicine, and only use pediatric cough and cold medications under a doctor's supervision.

 

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