Obese overweight children and the problems they face has been a subject of discussion in recent times. The statistics of obese children are increasing day by day and is a cause for concern among teachers, parents and health care professionals. The causes for overweight among children can be genetic or other causes. If there is a genetic tendency then obesity cannot be cured and obese childhood would lead to obesity in adulthood also. Otherwise a lot of steps can be taken to bring about weight loss inchildren.
Causes for overweight:
Intake of fatty and junk food stuffs: This is a main cause for obesity or overweight in children. Children eat excess food that are low in nutrient value but which are highly fatty. With both the parents going out to work, children eat easily available foods that have low nutritive content. Pizzas, pasta and burgers take preference over a simple home cooked meal with the essential ingredients. This has led to overweight among children.
Watching too much TV: This also has an indirect bearing on health and its related issues. Parents must encourage children to take part in out door activities and restrict TV time and computer games. With the advancement in media, children get addicted to video and computer games in front of which they spend too much time and this leads to a sedentary lifestyle and excess weight among children.
Lack of physical exercise: Children these days do not indulge in any physical activity and mostly spend their time indoors. Lack of exercise or sport activity leads to poor physical health and obese overweight children. Parents must strictly encourage the child to take up a sport like tennis or cricket which will help them to burn the calories which will not be stored up as fat. Even simple exercise like walking or using the staircase instead of the elevator is bound to have positive results.
What can be done for weight loss in children:
Children should be encouraged to take part in sport or physical exercise regularly.
They should follow a strict weight loss program. Parents must be role models and must encourage them to maintain their weight and avoid excess weight.
A strict limitation on TV watching time is necessary and parents should be watchful over their children in this matter.
Avoiding fatty and oily food stuffs is another solution. Children should be taught to make simple nutritious meals by themselves. Parents must also take responsibility and prepare good home cooked meals for their children that include legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, proteins etc.
Giving a food item as a reward and punishing by restricting food does harm rather than good to the child and should never be adhered to.
Giving encouragement and support in their weight loss programs by involving other overweight kids and never resorting to criticizing also helps to a certain extent.
A combined effort of teachers, parents and health care professionals will help to root out the malady of child obesity. Parents must take responsibility and keep vigil on the child’s eating habits. Good nutritious meals must be prepared by parents for their children. Teachers and the school management must ensure that the canteen food is nutritious and does not aggravate the problem of childhood obesity.
Soft drinks must not be encouraged among children as it will trigger child obesity. Snacking in front of the TV must also be restricted as it will lead to consumption of excess calories. Parents must encourage and support their children in their weight loss programs and should not insult or mock at their physical appearance. These steps will go a long way in controlling the problem of obesity or overweight among children.