National Kids and Pet Day: Defeating Obesity
National Kids and Pet Day was founded in 2010 by Michael Parise. The day is designed to provide families with tips on how they can improve their health while spending time with their pets.
Obesity is a significant problem in the United States, especially among children. In fact, it has been estimated that one in five children between the ages of 6 and 11 are obese or overweight according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to research conducted by the CDC, obesity affects over 30% of all Americans; however, there are numerous factors that can contribute to this growing epidemic such as physical activity levels, diet quality, genetics and more.
The Dangers of Obesity
The main cause for obesity in both children and animals is the imbalance between the calories consumed and calories burned. Childhood obesity can lead to difficulty breathing, hypertension, early markers for cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological warfare.
Obesity in pets an cause osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus type II (non-insulin dependent), high blood pressure and heart disease; kidney failure; cancer of the colon or rectum as well as a decreased life expectancy of up to 2.5 years. It also results in pain and suffering for an animal that may not be able to move around easily or even have enough room to lie down comfortably because they are so large!
How to Combat Obesity in Pet and Children
The best way to combat obesity is to limit the intake of empty calories from sugary and fatty foods, and substitute them with nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
For pets an example would be to switch your pet’s food so that it has less fat content or higher fiber content. This will help your pet feel full faster so that they do not overeat or over eat as much at one time. Also make sure that you are giving them enough exercise by taking walks together every day!
For children it is recommended 60 minutes a day of exercise as well as limiting screen time (TV/computer games) as well as eating healthy meals with plenty of vegetables instead of junk food!
Fun Pet Exercise Activities
- Play fetch. This is a great activity for dogs, cats and even birds! Get a toy that your pet can easily pick up and bring back to you.
- Play tug of war. If your animal has teeth, make sure that it’s okay with being pulled around before trying this game out (some animals don’t like it). You may want to use rope instead of rope toys because they’re safer for the animal’s teeth and gums if they bite down on them during playtime.
- Hide and seek: Find somewhere safe where both humans and animals can hide from each other — under beds or behind curtains work well as places where pets won’t be able to find their way out easily or at all!
Get in Contact with Paw Pals Pet Sitting
Kids and pets are a wonderful combination. They provide companionship and help children develop into healthy adults. It’s important that you make sure your child has plenty of time to play with their pet each day. Also, remember that pets need exercise too! Take them for walks around your neighborhood or let them run around in the yard when possible.
On National Kids and Pets Day I wanted to showcase how the magnificent bond between a child and an animal can be a healthy platform to tackle both child and pet obesity. Here are some staggering statistics:
- An estimated 42 million children under the age of 5 are overweight or obese according to a study done in 2013.
- An estimated 43.8 million US dogs are overweight or obese.
- An estimated 55 million US cats are overweight or obese
The main cause for obesity in both children and animals is the imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned. Obesity can lead to several health problems. In children obesity can lead to difficulty breathing, hypertension, early markers for cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and psychological warfare. When obesity starts at a young age, children become at risk for obesity throughout life, premature death, and disability in adulthood. It can also lead to cardiovascular disease (heart attack), diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (i.e. osteoarthritis), and cancers that metastasize in fatty tissues such as breast cancer in adulthood. In animals obesity can cause osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer, and a decreased life expectancy of up to 2.5 years.
Now that we can see that obesity is a problem we should also shout from the rooftops that obesity can be corrected and prevented.
- The best way to combat obesity is to limit the intake of empty calories from sugary and fatty foods and substitute it with nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
- For children an example would be switching soda or sweet tea for water.
- For pets an example would be to switch to a pet food specially catered for obesity.
- In conjunction to a nutritious diet exercising is a must.
- For children it is recommended 60 minutes a day of exercise.
- For pets let their human companion bring them for a walk, or a swim if possible.
- Teach your children about food. What it is comprised of and how it is broken down in their bodies so they can understand what is happening. This will make it easier on them to change their diets.
We love our children and we love our pets. On this National Kids and Pet Day celebrate the bond by taking the right steps to a healthier, happier life.