Sedentary lifestyles has led to the rise of obese or overweight children worldwide. According to a report, one in every five children are obese or overweight in the US. Obesity in childhood is associated with fewer health risks compared to adulthood. But overweight children are at a high risk of becoming overweight or obese adults. This will place them at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart related problems later in life.
Being obese in the childhood and during the adolescent stage can have an effect on the mental health as well. Obese children are generally subject to bullying by their peers. This leads to stress and depression in them. They will also stop socializing and may develop low self esteem.
Causes for Obesity in Children
Most common factors that lead to obesity and overweight in children include the following:
Genetic factors – Certain genes may make children susceptible to obesity. If there is a history of obesity in the family, parents have to be extra cautious regarding the food habits.
Unhealthy food choices – Food containing high amounts of fat and sugar makes a person obese in the long run. Children have to be given a well balanced diet.
Lack of physical activity – Technology has taken over our lives. Children are spending most of their time watching TV, playing games on phones and computers making them physically inactive. A proper diet and good physical activity plays an important role in child’s weight.
Risks associated with Obese children
Obese children are at the risk of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They are also at the risk of developing diabetes, early heart diseases, bone related problems and certain skin conditions like heat rashes, fungal infections & acne.
How to determine whether a child is obese or overweight?
The child’s doctor will determine by considering the BMI and the growth patterns of the child. BMI of the child will be compared to the standard values and the doctor will also consider the child’s age.
Parents should play a supportive role in helping the child to fight obesity. Gradually parents should change their family’s food habits. Parents should make the child indulge in more physical activity. They should also participate in the physical activity and lead by example.
Whatever measures parents take should not make the children feel bad about themselves or singled out. The entire family must inculcate the healthy habits in their daily routine and help the child in overcoming obesity.