Childhood Overweight and Obesity Can Put Unhealthy Strain on Childrens' Hearts

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • The reason why experts are so concerned about kids carrying excess weight is because that extra weight can have a profound impact on the child's current and long term health.   The obvious health outcomes associated with excess weight are diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.  When fitness experts want to see how healthy someone's heart is they will often use an exercise test and monitor the person's heart rate during exercise.  When exercise is stopped abruptly, they will then see how quickly the patient's heat rate slows down in order to go back to a safe and acceptable heart rate.  That assessment is called recovery time and it's also used to see how fit a person is becoming when engaged in an exercise program.  Initially, an unfit person will take quite awhile before their heart rate returns close to resting heart rate levels.  As they become more fit, their recovery rate will be faster.

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    A recent study noticed a very interesting phenomenon.  Overweight kids from lower and middle socio-economic income families with higher BMIs have slower recovery times when they finish a treadmill test compared with kids with high BMIs who come from more affluent families.  Since recovery times are a measure of cardiac fitness, this is somewhat troubling. But....researchers need to clarify some possible explanations for this phenomenon.  The affluent children with higher BMIs may actually have higher muscle mass and not fat mass (if they are exercising).  The more affluent kids may also be eating healthier food and be more aware of nutrition and fitness even if they actually are overweight. 


    So weight loss may be especially important to provoke in kids who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, if indeed they are overweight.  You can also extrapolate that even if you are overweight, and in need of serious weight loss in order to be healthier, one habit change that can help improve your health is to simply start to eat healthier foods and another is to get moving as much as possible.


    On May 12, Oprah had Geneen Roth, a well known author on weight issues as a guest on her show.  Ms. Roth has just released Women, Food and God, a book about your food issues and why you eat.  Ms. Roth explores the perspective that we eat to numb ourselves from reckoning with our pain.  And the reality is that the food doesn't help - in fact, it creates more pain, while leaving the original pain untouched.  Food is your drug of choice and it cannot ultimately relieve your pain, issues of self worth, boredom, anger, stress or any other emotional upheaval.  So according to the author, we need to be willing to use the food as a doorway - relinquish the use of food as an unsuccessful treatment or unsuccessful therapy and instead be willing to do the work on ourselves.  This book seems to be Oprah's latest "light bulb moment" and I hope that she and many others can do the tough work needed for an inner exploration and healing.

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    Do you use food to treat your pain?

    Are you motivated to work on your inner self?

    Can you imagine a day when yoiu don't turn to food for comfort?





Published On: June 04, 2010