Carrying extra weight puts a strain on your feet (not to mention the rest of your body as well). At Central Jersey Ankle & Foot Care Specialists we treat many conditions that are caused or made worse by excess weight. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month we’d like to share some information about your weight and your feet. Left unchecked, overweight children tend to become overweight adults. Helping your child develop healthy lifestyle habits now can greatly increase foot and overall health in his or her adult life.
Why Weight Matters
When you carry extra pounds, you put your feet at risk in a multitude of ways:
- Excess weight puts strain on bones, muscles and tendons. This makes it a cause and factor in several chronic foot conditions including: plantar fasciitis, flatfeet, arthritis and metatarsaligia.
- People who are overweight are more prone to developing Type 2 diabetes. This disease can have serious consequences for your feet. Neuropathy (lack of sensation) coupled with an impeded circulatory system (both associated with diabetes) can lead to foot wounds and ulcers, infection and even amputation.
- Carrying extra weight can alter the way you walk and cause tripping, ankle sprains and other injuries.
Make Small Changes Now
Fortunately, there are many ways to help children develop healthy habits now to reach and maintain an appropriate weight:
- Make simple substitutions in your family diet: use lowfat or nonfat dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream), swap high calorie snacks for fruits, veggies, nuts, and lower calorie versions of favorites like chips and ice cream.
- Eat more meals at home—it’s easier to control the calorie and content of meals when you make them. Involve children in the shopping and prep of meals and use it as an opportunity to educate them about healthy ingredients.
- Limit screen time—kids today have more screens than they know what to do with! Set an amount of time they are allowed on TV, computers, gaming systems, cell phones, etc.
- Encourage more physical activity and find some interests you can enjoy as a family: skiing, biking, hiking, skating, etc.