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Kids in Michigan ages 2-5 increasingly obese
KALAMAZOO, Mich (NEWSCHANNEL 3) -- The growing obesity problem is now affecting toddlers.
A new study from the American Heart Association shows more than 4% of children in the U.S. over the age of 2 are obese.
But how do toddlers in Michigan size up?
The Center for Disease Control says 13 percent of children in Michigan between the ages of 2 and 5 are classified as obese.
I think the biggest thing is that the growth of it is alarming. Its more than doubled in the past 10 years, said Dr. Tom Akland, a pediatrician at Borgess Family Medicine in Plainwell.
He said the troubling obesity rate comes from toddlers sitting around for hours on end dazzled by screens.
Theyre also eating lots of junk food washed down by sugary drinks.
The sedentary lifestyle in general. Parents feelings about having their children roam through the neighborhood is a lot different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago, Dr. Akland said.
He said having an obese little tyke sets them up for a lifetime of health issues.
But Dr. Akland said there's still hope for heavy toddlers if you make dietary changes, like using reduced fat milk and switching in healthy snacks for junk food.
To make those switches can make a big difference. Watch portion sizes. Eating breakfast is a big change, Dr. Akland said.
The alarming obesity problem has the Bread and Roses Child Care Center in Kalamazoo making sure kids know how to make healthy choices.
We always serve fresh fruit and vegetables. We also sit with the children. So they see that we're eating healthy foods, they're friends are eating healthy foods, said Phyllis Tifft of Bread and Roses.
Pediatricians and daycares agree that good exercise for little ones is just as simple as letting them play outside.
Children are naturally active, that's how they are, Tifft said.
Kids don't get this way on their own so it's important for families to get healthy together.
If you're modeling good behavior for your family, children will be more active, more willing to get off the couch, Dr. Akland said.
Dr. Akland said there is a difference between a child who is just a little chubby and one who is seriously obese.
If you have any concerns about your childs weight, consult your family doctor.