Childhood obesity is a condition in which the children are above the normal weight for their age and height. When we see chubby children, we find them really cute. But in the long term, they will look fat as they won’t change their eating habits and tend to put on weight. It is found that children who are around age 6-14 years have been affected by this in many developed and developing countries.
One way to check if a child is obese or not is through BMI (Body mass index). It is a value calculated from the mass and height of a person. The BMI chart will let you know if you are at a healthy weight or not.
Childhood obesity results in many serious medical conditions when they step into adolescent age like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and it also has many impacts on the psychological aspects like distorted peer relationships, poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Some children would also develop inferior thoughts when they find their friends wearing fit clothes and being good in photos when obese children may look fat and saggy. It will affect their attitude and personality growth as well. Childhood obesity has become one of the alarming figures.
The most common causes of childhood obesity are genetic factors, lack of exercise, hormones, and unhealthy eating habits, or a combination of these factors. One of the main causes is a lack of parental guidance because children would follow the habits that are followed by their parents. So, it is necessary to follow good habits like eating nutrient-rich foods, exercising daily and reducing screen time and reading books, and so on. Nowadays, parents are too busy with their work schedule and tend to give less importance or some may even ignore educating their children on proper nutrition and the importance of exercise to lead a healthy life. Some parents won’t prepare food for their children due to less time and eventually give them money to order food online. Thus, children start eating foods from fast-food restaurants as their parents find it to be the best option for them due to their busy working schedules.
In childhood obesity, there are no specific symptoms other than being overweight. Children may experience binge eating, overweight, lack of exercise, potbelly, and shortness of breath. Most of the children would be addicted to either sweet desserts or hot and spicy flavored foods which results in gaining weight. Especially children who are overweight due to addiction might find it difficult to lose weight as they won’t be able to leave or change their habits easily even if they are aware of the consequences.
However, it is possible to manage childhood obesity with good support and proper guidance from parents and the school. The habits like improvement of the entire family’s diet and exercise. It is important to say no to processed food and junk foods.
In diet, it includes intake of nutritional foods on time and it is better to follow a proper schedule with discipline. The parents need to have track of their children’s eating habits to ensure that they have all nutrients in the proper ratio to prevent them from nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, children should have a balanced diet to meet all the nutrients requirements. A balanced diet has adequate calories. It helps to maintain good health. It includes fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fat, protein-rich foods, and whole grains & fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Habits, like eating foods with calories which the body needs per day and limiting the intake of fat preferring unsaturated fats to saturated fats and avoiding trans fats and regular exercise like walking, if not one, can also get involved in playing outdoor games like cricket, football or badminton an hour a day and reading nutritional labels should be incorporated by their parents.
Every parent should teach their children and make them realize that “you are what you eat”. Therefore, children will grow in a healthy lifestyle. Although in childhood obesity the complication is unavoidable, there are solutions that should be followed with strong motivation and discipline to reach a manageable state and lead a healthy life.