With the statistics on child and adult obesity rocketing around the globe it is taking its toll on the psyche of youth too. The obese youngsters of today face low self esteem and confidence due to their overweight and fail to mingle with society. The obese youth are taunted and teased by their peers due to their excess weight and develop a strong inferiority complex that prevents them from engaging in social activities. Society shuns them due to their excess weight and they are looked as people without motivation or self control and are deprived of jobs.
Healthy eating habits have to be inculcated from childhood. The impact of obesity on youth can be daunting and sometimes even lead youth to take their lives. With both parents working these days, children are left to the care of servants who are illiterate and do not control or have a say in the children’s eating habits. The youth of today have also gained financial independence and without maturity they spend their money lavishly. Weekends are spent partying till late in the night and they consume rich food full of calories. Without any physical activity on their part, the calories are not burnt and get stored up as fat leading to the excess body weight.
Youth and teens indulge in unhealthy eating habits. Pizzas, burgers and other fatty foodstuffs are preferred with the advent of globalization. Healthcare professionals see an increasing rate of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in children and adults these days. Video games, computer games and internet watching have gained preference over playing games out doors. Teens and youth spend lot of time before the TV and playing computer games which lead to a sedentary lifestyle and lot of diseases.
Suggestions to curb obesity in youth:
The teens and youth of today must be taught the advantages of healthy eating. Parents and teaches must supervise their eating pattern and encourage healthy eating habits in youth.
TV watching and playing computer games must be restricted and youth should be encouraged to take up a sport like swimming, skating etc. Opportunities must be made available for them to actively engage in sports and programs that improve physical fitness. This is one of the effective youth physical activity.
Parents must be role models themselves. You should opt for the stairs instead of taking the elevator and walk short distances instead of traveling by bike or car.
Youth must be taught to prepare simple meals which are healthy by themselves so that they can learn to be independent and enjoy good health.
Calorie charts must be put up in the kitchen to educate children and youth about the calories consumed per day.
Obese youth must not be mocked at but parents must include them in weight management programs so that they try to lose weight gradually.
Restricting food as a punishment and giving food as a reward must be curtailed.
Children and youth must be encouraged to eat on time and slowly by relishing the food. This is one of the best obesity diet.
All kinds of stress at home should be avoided as that can also lead to overeating in youth. An atmosphere of mutual trust and bonding should be shared between parents and children so that the impact of obesity comes down.
Healthcare professionals, parents, teachers, manufacturers and marketers of junk foods should join hands in their fight to bring down the impact of obesity and promote healthy eating habits in adults and children. Grants given by various organizations to promote healthy eating and sports among youth must be further used and encouraged to stop this menace from spreading worldwide. Youth must be taught about the positives of eating a healthy breakfast in the morning and to make various nutritious choices like consumption of fruits and vegetables instead of snacks like chips and popcorn. Once they start changing their eating patterns and experience the advantages it will become a habit and the youth of today will be able to say “NO” to unhealthy eating habits. A concerted effort by all concerned is essential and important to remove this malady of child and adult obesity.