Kids Getting Adult Diseases: June 11, 2014

“She loves being outside,” says mom Erika Howell. “She loves to be in the pool, she loves playing on the ground. Just everything to do with being outside.”

Howell’s 4-year-old daughter is a body in motion, along with her 6 year old son, who also goes full-throttle.

“Which we love to encourage.”

Truth is - many kids are sitting playtime out. And pediatricians are seeing the results.

“We are sending more children for comprehensive tests,” says Lee Memorial Health System pediatrician Dr. Nancy Witham.

Given the ballooning rate of childhood obesity, it’s no wonder kids are getting sick before their time.

“It’s so unfortunate but yes, we are seeing that children are getting conditions that were formally thought of as being adult conditions,” says Dr. Witham. “Such as type 2 diabetes, we’re also seeing high blood pressure. We see heart disease, we see fatty liver disease. We see gallbladder disease.”

Not to mention sleep apnea, worsening asthma, gastric problems and joint deterioration. Experts believe it’s time for action.

“Looing at the food choices, looking at the activity, screen time, bedtime, all of those things.”

The biggest game-changer: exercise. One hour a day is recommended.

There are no style points for activity- it doesn’t need to be anything formal. The simple act of moving is enough to keep kids on a healthy path.

“I would like to say that because my children are so active and like to be out so much of the time, they hardly ever are sick,” says Howell.

No surprise active kids come from proactive parents.