Childhood obesity has become a serious problem all across the globe over the last several years. Childhood obesity is associated with various health-related consequences. Obese children may experience immediate health consequences and may be at risk for weight-related health problems in adulthood. Children become overweight or obese for a variety of reasons and this can be prevented if the parents take a right measure at right time. Balance of diet and physical activity can help your child maintain a healthy weight.
The most common causes of obesity in children:
Genetic factors: Obesity tends to run in families. If parents are fat then the offspring also show a tendency to accumulate fat.
Overeating and Lack of Physical Activity: Eating habits and physical activities of a person also contribute to an excess deposition of fat. Obesity happens as a consequence of eating too much and exercising too little.
Psychological disturbances: Tendency to overeat in response to negative emotions like boredom, sadness or anger leads to obesity.
Binge eating disorder: Diseases, certain neurological problems and conditions like Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome lead to overeating which in turn leads to accumulation of fat.
Prevention is better than Cure
Obesity in children can be prevented if the parents are well aware of the causes. There are many things that a parent can do to prevent obesity in their child, including:
- Focus on good health, not a certain weight goal.
- Plan your daily meal and snack times and eat together as frequently as possible.
- Plan sensible and small portions for your child.
- Respect your child’s appetite; children do not have to finish everything on their plate. Do not force them to overeat.
- Avoid pre-prepared and foods with extra sugar.
- Provide enough fiber in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Limit the amount of high-calorie foods kept in the home like candies, bars, jellies etc.
- Enjoy physical activities as a family (walking, playing outdoor games, etc.)
- Limit TV viewing.
- Do not reward or punish them using food as a tool.
- Replace whole milk with skim milk at about 2 years of age, or at 1 year of age if you are concerned about obesity, or if you find that the child is overweight.
- Encourage your child to participate in active play.
- Set a good example for them. Do not indulge in fast foods if you want your child to eat a bowl of fruits smoothie.
- Limit your eating out, instead prepare healthy and interesting meals at home.
- Involve your child in meal prepping.
- Educate your child about the good foods.
Tips to reduce Obesity
- With the help of physician you should determine how much weight has to be reduced.
- Set several short term realistic goals .
- Make gradual changes in eating habits.
- Weight reduces when you burn more calories than you consume.
- Hence weight loss occur when you eat less and remain more active.
- Sound eating habits keep you out of putting on weight.
- Keep your child motivated to lose weight.
- Slow loss is the safest and most effective.
- Gradual weight loss, promote long term loss of body fat.
- To satisfy basic nutritional needs give your child a wide variety of foods every day.
- Occasional treat should be allowed to the kids.
- Try to cut down the intake of foods high in fats and sugar.
- Involve your child in more outdoor play than indoor activities.
The vast majority of overweight children eventually become overweight adults. This may never be uprooted completely, but we can certainly make efforts to help control this current epidemic using some of the ideas recommended above.