(662) 282-4226 Open hours: Mon 7:30am - 7:00pm, T/W/Th 7:30am – 5:30pm, Fri 7:30am – 4:00pm
Childhood Obesity: How is it caused and what can parents do?

Childhood Obesity: How is it caused and what can parents do?

Childhood Obesity

We finally have some good news in Mississippi’s childhood obesity crisis! Childhood obesity in our state has stopped rising. According to new government data, 37% of children in Mississippi age 10-17 were either overweight to obese in 2016. This is down from a rate of 39.7% in 2011 and 44.4% in 2007.

Survey methods have changed recently which means earlier results about obesity rates may not be comparable with the newest survey results. Still, Mississippi is now ranked the third state with the most obese children behind Tennessee with 37.7% and North Dakota at 37.1 %. We celebrate this improvement, but recognize we still have a long way to go.

Childhood obesity is a complex health issue. It occurs when a child is well above the normal or healthy weight for his/her age or height. Childhood obesity usually results due to poor behaviors and habits. Eating  low nutrient food and not getting enough physical activity are the two most contributing factors.

Health risks associated with childhood obesity include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Early heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Bone problems
  • Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne

What can parents do?

If your child is overweight, you must show him or her your full support. Children’s feelings about themselves are often based on their parent’s attitudes. It’s important to talk to your children about their weight. Families who communicate about food were less likely to have overweight or obese children.

It’s not recommended that parents set children apart because of their weight. Instead parents should focus on gradually changing the family’s physical activity and eating habits. Involving everyone in the family will prevent the overweight child from feeling singled out.

Find fun ways to involve the entire family and teach new healthy habits.

Need a place to start? Try these ideas:

  • Lead by example. If your children see you physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active.
  • Plan fun family activities where everyone is up and moving. Think activities such as walking, biking, or swimming.
  • Move your meals from the living room to the kitchen table where they are supposed to be. Having a family dinner at least three times a week has been linked to a lower risk of obesity.
  • Remember restrictive feeding may influence weight gain. Foods that are withheld might become more desired or sought after. When children do get access to these food, they might chose to overeat because they have the chance. Instead of saying, “No more potatoes ever!” say “We are not having potato chips now because lunch is a half hour away. We’ll have some one day this week with dinner.”
  • Make an effort to reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in front of the TV.
  • Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable participating in certain activities. Help your child find an activity he/she will enjoy.

For more information about childhood obesity click here:




Speak Your Mind


Our Providers Are Ready to Help You

Request Your Appointment Now