What is Childhood Obesity?
Childhood obesity is a serious condition that affects children and adolescents. This condition occurs when a child is well above the BMI (Normal weight as per age and height), which has a negative impact on their well-being. Childhood obesity causes health problems such as diabetes, liver problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. One of the best solutions to reduce or prevent childhood obesity is to work towards a healthy lifestyle by improving exercise habits and diet of your entire family. Preventing and treating childhood obesity helps to protect your child’s health now and in the future.
Risk Factors Involved in Childhood Obesity or causes of childhood obesity?
Many following factors, either individually or in combination can increase your child’s risk of becoming obese. There are many reasons for childhood obesity.
1. Food Choices
Eating high calorie foods such as baked goods, fast foods and vending machine snacks can easily cause your child to become overweight. High sugar beverages like soft drinks and desserts are also major risk factors which not only add on to the weight but lead to other health problems.
2. Lack of Physical Activity
Children who do not exercise are more likely to gain weight. This is because they do not burn enough calories for being fit and healthy. Children today are more inclined towards watching television, playing video games, playing games on computers or tablets. Since your child is not exercising enough he/she is more likely to become dull, inactive with poor stamina. Hence you must encourage your child or enroll them in some physical activity or sports like playing tennis, badminton, cricket, swimming, dancing, karate, etc.
Some rare gene disorders can also cause childhood obesity. In some cases, particular genes act together and make children more susceptible to being overweight. In this situation, parents need to be more aware of making healthy food choices. You must encourage your kid to eat more fruits and vegetables rather than fatty foods like pizza’s, burgers, chips, etc
4. Psychological Factors
Some children overeat to fight boredom or to cope up with emotions such as stress. Their parents may have similar tendencies. In situations like this, as a parent you must build a strong bond with your children. Be their friend so that they can easily confide in you without bearing any stress.
5. Family Factors
Eating patterns of your family has a major influence on your child. Childhood obesity is more likely possible in an environment where high-calorie food is always available; physical activity is not encouraged and there is no proper eating timetable followed by the family. In such cases, parents must start practicing good habits like having at least one meal of the day with all the family members or a family dinner every week.
6. Socio-economic Factors
Foods like cookies, crackers and frozen foods are often an easier and less expensive option than fresher and healthier foods. But these foods contain many fats and salt which have a major effect on your child’s weight. In addition, people who live in lower income neighborhood may not have access to a recreation facility or other safe places to exercise. Hence a combination of poor eating habits and no exercise plays a key role.
Health Problems Associated With Childhood Obesity
Most of the health problems associated with childhood obesity becomes obvious in adulthood. It can have complications for the physical, emotional and social well-being of your child. Some of the health problems include:
- Type 2 Diabetes – This condition in children affects the way your child metabolizes glucose. Overweight and a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
2.High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure – These factors can lead to the buildup of plaques in the arteries that narrow and harden the arteries that can cause heart attack or stroke later in life.
- Breathing Problems – Overweight of your child can cause problems with the health of your child’s lungs, leading to breathing problems like asthma, etc.
- Liver Problems – Childhood obesity may cause problems like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to scarring and liver damage.
- Early Puberty or Menstruation – Overweight and obesity can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to early puberty than expected.
- Sleep Apnoea – This condition causes difficulty in breathing when sleeping. In this condition, your child may snore or have abnormal breathing while sleeping.
Research Study on Childhood Obesity Prevention
A study by Raylene Reimer, a nutrition professor at the University of Calgary in Canada, suggested that drinking a glass of water with a prebiotic fibre every day before dinner can be a simple fix for obesity children.
Reimer told that the aim of the study is to improve the body composition of the participant that could reset their metabolism. She believes that they will be healthier when they hit puberty.
The four-month clinical trial experiment involved 44 obese children between the ages of 8 and 12. They added fibre, known as prebiotic, to their water every night. According to the researchers, this helps achieve a body weight that is healthier. Further, Reimer explained that a healthy body weight represents reduction in body fat.
Reimer also stated “Less body fat is associated with increased health and a reduction in various health conditions like heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Since these diseases appear at younger ages, it is important to take action against childhood obesity and to find ways in lessening body fat”.
I hope now you understand how obesity can pose a threat to your kid’s health and one should look out for childhood obesity solutions. Hence please monitor and direct your child’s eating habits and exercise methods in the right way.
How important do you think it is to monitor weight right from childhood? Please share your views in the comments below.