Obesity In West Michigan

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“Kids are spending up to 10 hours a day in front of a screen, from TV to video games to Facebook to texting someone on their cell phone,” says Becky Young, health education team supervisor at the Ottawa County Health Department. “Those things have taken over physical activity for kids.” In April, kids all over West Michigan will have the opportunity to be fit. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital will open a Healthy Weight Center for kids who are seriously overweight. To qualify this program a child must be at or above the 95th percentile of weight based on their age and gender. Also, they must be referred by their primary center physicians. With this center it will offer different things such as help from physicians and dieticians to exercise physiologists, social workers and psychologists. This program expects to serve approximately 200 children this year and more than 350 annually by 2012. What kids would have to do is wear a high tech armband with accelerometers. When wearing this it will track every move the kid will make. Eventually, once the center experts knows what the child needs then the experts will set up personal plans involving healthier eating habits and more. Experts predict that by 2010, approximately 15 million U.S. children will be considered obese. “It’s all about eat well and keep moving,” says FIT program director Tracy Thompson of MSU’s College of Human Medicine. And, that’s exactly what 1,000 students are doing with this project. This project encourages kids to eat new healthy foods and also, exercising at least 30 minutes every day by dance parties to jump rope teams. Obese children experience medical problems that were simply common in adults, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol. This program will hopefully help this problem, and encourage kids to live a healthy and active life.





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