Within the last two decades, childhood obesity has grown into a major health crisis. Current statistics estimate that more than one third of children in the U.S. is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for more serious health issues. A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop type II diabetes at some point in their  lives, likely at an earlier age. Today’s teens could very well be the current faces of diabetes.

For African American children this poses a greater issue because African Americans have twice the risk of developing type II diabetes. There are ways that parents can help to prevent and reverse childhood obesity and many of these techniques are simple.  If your child’s health is at the forefront of your concerns, here are four simple ways to help your child maintain a healthy weight.

Monitor sugar intake.

Children love those colorful boxed sweets that have the faces of their favorite cartoon characters on them, but these treats are often loaded with sugar that can be harmful to their health.  Sugar converts to a fat that is hard to break down, thus leading to weight gain that can affect overall health.  It’s okay to give a child a treat every now and then, but choose snack options that contain natural sugar such as apples, melons or other sweet fruits.  Look for snacks that are derived from 100% real fruit and swap out the milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Sodas and juices also contain high amounts of sugar, so monitoring the intake of these things is important as well.

Increase physical activity.

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