Amarillo child obesity rates rise over past decade

Amarillo child obesity rates rise over past decade
Amarillo child obesity rates have risen over the past decade (Source: kfda)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Recent studies have shown Texas ranked at 19th in the country for childhood obesity rates and the national rate has been growing significantly since the 80′s.

Amarillo child obesity rates rise over past decade

According to The State of Obesity, children two to five years old have an obesity rate of 13.9 percent and six to 11-year-old children have a rate of 18.4 percent.

“In Amarillo, we have a large population of obesity,” said Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Pediatrician Dr. Maria Contreras. “Childhood obesity is the more common chronic condition that we are seeing today. The thing that is concerning is we have been seeing recently more and more consults of obese kids, especially younger kids. [They are] less than five and less than ten years and we never used to see that many in the past decade.”

Dr. Contreras said increased screen-time has been a major cause for childhood obesity and changing a child’s unhealthy habits is a family effort.

“This is not going to work if you focus only on the kids,” said Dr. Contreras. “You have to work as a family because if not, then it does not work. We have to address this obesity as a whole family.”

During the winter, many outdoor playgrounds have been left empty because of cold temperatures, causing families to stay indoors and decrease activity time.

“So many times kids are on tablets and watching TV so often,” said Luv 2 Play owner Chasity Nachtigall. “I know as a kid, I was always outside playing.”

An Amarillo business called Luv 2 Play offers children a safe indoor playground to stay active especially during the winter.

“It’s definitely very important for kids to get in there and crawl around,” said Nachtigall. “They’re running around being crazy, breaking sweats and burning a lot of energy off, as well as taking care of their bodies.”

Luv 2 Play’s indoor playground is also parent-friendly

“Most importantly it’s just making memories with your family,” said Nachtigall. “Crawling around in the play structure is a lot of fun for the adults, as well as the kids. The kids can come and just be active and be independent, but also have the ability for their parents to play with them and enjoy this facility when it is cold outside.”

To find more information about childhood obesity in Texas, click here.

You can also find more information about Luv 2 Play, here.

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