Kids of present generation were spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV/ Computer or Video games which were the main causes of obesity. Obesity means having excess body fat. Children usually grow at different rates, so it isn’t always easy to know when a child is obese or overweight. Both these terms indicate that a person’s weight is greater than what is considered healthy for his/her height. Obesity occurs when a child is quite above the average weight for his or her age. Childhood Obesity is one of the severe medical conditions which affects both children and adolescents. Also, the excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood. Hence, read the complete article to know what are the causes of Obesity in children, Health risks for CDC Childhood Obesity, etc.
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What is Childhood Obesity?
Over the past 30 years, Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents. We can explicitly say that the lifestyle changes have made a significant impact on the children which results in obesity. Today’s busy families have fewer leisure moments to prepare a nutritious, home-cooked meals instead they prefer to buy food from outside. From fast food to electronics or other things, people were following quick and easy methods. Children used to consume one snack a day, while 1 in 5 school-age children now eats up to six snacks a day. Also, most of the schools were eliminating their physical education or P.T classes. As a result, your kid’s body stores unused energy as fat.
To maintain a healthy weight, one need to burn the energy from the foods they eat. If you eat more than the limit, your body will store the extra energy as fat which results in Obesity. But studies have proven that more than 10 million cases of obesity were registered in India per year. A child is defined as obese if their BMI (Body Mass Index) percentile is greater than 95 percent. Whereas a child is defined as “overweight,” if their BMI percentile exceeds 85 percent and less than 95 percent. But you can prevent the obesity in children by adapting the way your family eats, exercises, and spend time together.
Causes of Obesity in Children
Kids need enough food to support healthy growth and development. But consuming more calories than they burn throughout the day results in weight gain. The primary causes of childhood obesity are genetic factors, irregular eating habits, lack of physical activities, unhealthy eating patterns, and much more. There are also several associated effects like cholesterol problem, blood pressure, diabetes, etc. which causes obesity in children. However, more than 90% of cases are idiopathic and less than 10% are associated with hormonal or genetic causes. Once your baby becomes obese, they should maintain a lot of effort and commitment to return to a healthy weight.
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Childhood Obesity is usually self-diagnosable. The disease can’t be cured, but treatment may help you. There may be no symptoms other than weight that’s above normal. But people may experience the following symptoms such as
- Binge eating.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Shortness of breath.
Health Risks for Obese Children
Obese children have been found to have some risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including high cholesterol levels, high BP, and abnormal glucose tolerance. For example, An obese adult at the age of 40 years can expect to die 3-7 years earlier than someone who was of average weight at the same age. Overweight children are often teased and excluded from team activities in their schools or playing areas which lead to depressions and causes one of the following diseases such as
- Heart diseases: By Preventing or treating overweight and obesity in kids earlier can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like heart failure, stroke, etc. as they get older.
- Type 2 diabetes: This Type 2 Diabetes condition is mostly seen in adults, but now it is also being diagnosed in children.
- Asthma: Approximately, the Obese children are at 40-50% increased risk of Asthma compared to healthy kids.
- Sleep Apnea: It is one of the serious disorders in which your child’s breathing stops repeatedly and starts when he/she sleeps.
- Fatty Liver Disease: As it usually causes no symptoms, but deposits fat to build up in the liver.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Childhood Obesity can create hormone imbalances through which fat girls may have irregular periods and fertility problems in the adulthood.
- Depression and low self-esteem: Childhood Obesity may lead to depression through which children may lose hope about their lives and lose interest in normal activities. Depression is a serious problem in both children and adults.
- Social discrimination.
- Restless or disordered sleep patterns.
- Liver and gall bladder disease.
- Bone and joint problems, etc.
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How to Prevent Childhood Obesity?
Healthy habits usually start at home. The best way to prevent the Obesity in Children is involving the whole family in a healthier track. If your kid sees you eating fruits or vegetables, being active, and reducing the TV timings, then there is a chance of repeating the same. These habits will also have the happy side effect of helping you maintain a healthy weight. As a parent, you should take a step forward to prevent the childhood obesity. Remember that every small change you made on a daily basis can lead to a recipe for success!
- Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, etc. in their meals.
- Provide them with low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
- Choose protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish, poultry, lentils, and beans.
- Serve them in reasonably-sized portions.
- Encourage your kids and family members to drink a plenty of water.
- Restrict sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Consumption of sugar and saturated fats should be limited.
Help your kids to stay active by including some physical activities in their daily routine. Maintaining regular physical activities has many health benefits and contributes to balance the calories. Make sure that your kid should participate in yoga or some moderate workouts such as Swimming or Brisk walking or swimming or dancing for at least 1 hour daily. Since regular physical activities have many health benefits, make a schedule for your child to follow one of these physical activities. The health benefits are
- Increases self-esteem.
- Strengthening the bones.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Decreasing blood pressure.
- Helping your kids with weight management.
Management for Obesity among Children
Finally, If you eat well, exercise regularly, and include healthy habits into your family’s daily life, you are creating a healthy lifestyle for your kids that will last forever. As a parent, you should limit their timings on watching TV or Computers or Video games to 1 to 2 hours and allow them to play outside every day. Also, take a walk together, explore a local park, bike around the neighborhood, visit a playground, or play in the yard. You should include yourselves in their dietary treatment programs.
Some Useful Tips:
- Provide your child with a healthy and balanced diet which includes a plenty of fruits and vegetables and cut down the junk food which contains bad fats.
- Make sure that your kids should not skip their breakfast.
- Avoid foods with added sugar and pre-prepared foods.
- Provide their meals with enough fiber.
- Don’t reward completion of meals with sweet desserts.
- Make sure you replace the whole milk with semi-skimmed milk at about two years of age.