Around 17 percent of American children from age 2 to 19 are classed as “obese”. That’s a level that has remained fairly steady over the last decade. And it’s growing.
Obesity is measured in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) – a measure that can be used to compare children in terms of their weight. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. For children and teens, BMI is so age- and gender-specific that it is referred to as BMI-for-age. BMI levels among children and teens need to be expressed relative to other children of the same age and gender. Every child is different and that makes it difficult to generalize on something like this.
Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender.
To give an illustration, a 10-year-old boy of average height (56 inches) who weighs 102 pounds would have a BMI of 22.9 kg/m2. He would be considered obese because this calculation puts him in the 95th percentile for BMI-for-age. His BMI is greater than the BMI of 95% of 10-year-old boys in his “reference population”.
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Today is World Pneumonia Day. Why? Pneumonia is the leading killer of children under five. 1.3 million people dies of pneumonia last year and 1 in 8 children were a part of those mortality figures according to worldpneumoniaday.org.
Pneumonia is an infectious, bacterial disease that adversely affects one’s lungs.
How can pneumonia be prevented?
- Vaccines against pneumococcus, Hib, pertussis, and measles can prevent a significant portion of pneumonia cases from ever occurring.5
- Other preventative strategies include: zinc supplementation for children with diarrhea, prevention of HIV infection in children & antibiotic prophylaxis for HIV-infected children.5
Also, mothers can protect their children against pneumonia through exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of their baby’s life. Regular handwashing cuts down germs and pathogens. Additionally, using clean cookstoves helps to reduces the risk of pneumonia.
“Pneumonia can be prevented and cured. Yet, for too long it has been the leading cause of global deaths among children. We know what to do, and we have made great progress – but we must do more. We must scale-up proven solutions and ensure they reach every child in need,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
How Can You Help?
Heifer International, the organization we affectionately know to empower families the world over through animal gifts that provide not only a way out of hunger, but also a way into sustainable self-reliance, just launched a new interactive educational tool teaching children the power of giving. Aimed squarely at children between the ages of 5-10, Heifer’s new character, Sarah the Goat, guides children through the process of what it means to give an animal gift to a family living in poverty.
Children even as young as five will be able to grasp the concept of how one animal -from a goat, to a chicken, to a llama – can immeasurably changed the trajectory of a family with little to eat and hardly a way to earn income. As parents it is important to introduce our children to philanthropy at an early age. Heifer International helps us do that by creating an easy-to-understand tool allowing kids to understand that small changes can result in sustainable difference.
Using Heifer’s educational tool, children are mentioned in writing by name (parents have to put it in to get started) to kick off the personalized lesson and then Sarah the Goat begins to ask questions that allows kids to think critically about the importance of an animal to families in the developing world. While the issues of poverty and hunger are huge concepts for children to fully understand Sarah the Goat brings those huge issues to a kid’s level without missing the greater point of doing something for others.
To use the educational tool with your child visit www.heifer.org/alt-gift/sarah
We will be joining with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) along with our sister site, Mom Bloggers Club and five wonderful co-hosts for the #BeBookSmart tweet chat on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 from 6- 8 PM EST. We will talk all things children’s literacy and Macy’s will give away 10 $25 Macy’s gift cards as prizes throughout the two hours.
RSVP here to join us!
RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) has partnered with Macy’s to create Be Book Smart, a national partnership to raise awareness and support of children’s literacy. This effort will help RIF provide free books and literacy resources to children nationwide, while expanding RIF’s outreach to the children at greatest risk for developing reading difficulties. This campaign provides an opportunity for Macy’s customers to join the effort and have an impact on literacy in their community.
Through July 31, 2012, Macy’s customers can give $3 to provide a book for a child and receive a coupon for $10 off* a $50 in-store purchase at any Macy’s nationwide. Macy’s will give 100% of every $3 to RIF.
Since 2004, Macy’s has played an integral part of helping RIF carry out its mission, raising over $21 million to support children’s literacy. That means millions of free books and resources for children who need them the most.
Learn more at rif.org/macys.