Child obesity rate is a matter of grave concern to parents, teachers and health care professionals. Today according to the current standard on weight and obesity, one in every 5 children are obese. This is generally calculated based on the body mass index (BMI). When a person’s BMI crosses the 95 th percentile, he or she is considered obese. The number of children and adults who were overweight has nearly tripled in the last three decades. The main causes for obesity among children and adults are:
Lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns along with genetics and lifestyle that contribute to overweight.
TV, computer games and video games contribute to sedentary lifestyles of children.
About 43% of adults watch more than 2 hours of TV per day.
Children especially girls become less active as they move towards adolescence.
A BMI measurement carried out by your doctor will help you find out if your child is obese or not. A physician will also take into account the child or adolescent’s age and growth patterns to know if his weight is healthy or not.
Obesity and future warning:
Heart disease, blood pressure and high cholesterol are associated with children and adolescents who are overweight than in normal children
Type-2 diabetes previously considered an adult disease is now commonly seen in overweight and obese children.
Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. Obese adults are at a greater risk for developing cancer and other diseases.
Social discrimination and identity problems are also faced by children who are obese.
Cardiovascular diseases due to accumulation of fat in the arteries are also another problem faced by children who are overweight.
Suggestions for increased physical activity:
You should be physically active so that children try to imbibe such qualities from you. Even walking daily for half an hour and increasing it gradually for 1 hour will lead to weight loss. You can plan family activities that will provide opportunities for excitement and enjoyment for all.
Reduce the amount of TV you and your family watch.
Encourage swimming, biking, skating amongst children and teens and provide a safe environment for the same.
The future warning signs of obesity cases among children and adults also calls for greater interaction between parents and children pertaining to their eating habits and giving a comfortable atmosphere for your child’s upbringing. It is also researched and found that stress can also lead to poor eating habits among children. Parents’ responsibility calls for providing an atmosphere of love where the child is able to share his experiences with you. You must also spend a lot of time in planning the child’s breakfast and lunch filling it with nutrition. A simple but nutritious home cooked meal is far better than a costly junk meal bought from the hotel. Children must be taught healthy eating habits. You can put up calorie charts in the kitchen so that children get a fair idea of the number of calories they are consuming per day. The warning signs with respect to children obesity also call for a strategy where children are taught to maintain an ideal weight by following a weight management program. You can include their friends also in the weight management program so that they do not see it as a chore but start enjoying the same.
You should also focus on your child’s health and not only on his weight. If the doctor has warned that your child has a tendency to become obese then you should limit his intake of refined and processed foods and soft drinks. Fresh juices are healthier and he should eat only when he is really hungry. You should not force him to eat food. Smaller frequent meals rich in sprouts and legumes will help him feel full for a longer time than sugars and starches. Binging on burgers, pizzas and popcorn should not be entertained. Ice creams and desserts should be allowed only occasionally. All these factors will contribute towards a healthy life in children and adults and we can keep the future warning of childobesity at bay.