Categorized | Diet and Nutrition

Protecting Children From Obesity

The prevalence of child obesity is at a rise and has tripled for the last 30 years. Children are becoming less active these days that they prefer to watch tv all day or play video games. Their eating habits doesn’t help as well as they prefer to eat deep fried foods instead of healthy vegetables. If this will go on, we are looking at a future generation of unhealthy individuals prone to heart diseases and other lifestyle conditions.

Defining Obesity

Gaining an additional 2 to 3 pounds does not classify someone as obese. Although if a person gains weight easily he or she is at risk of obesity and should start thinking of diet modification and exercise. A child will be considered as an obese if he exceeds 10 percent of his recommended weight based on his age, height and body type. A person who is obese as an adult has most likely suffered from being an obese in childhood.

Causes of Obesity

There are many factors causing obesity and can range from genetic, behavioral, cultural and biological. However an individual doesn’t get obese in a short time therefore it is the lifestyle and eating habit of a person that influences obesity the most. In children, if the parents are not practicing or promoting a healthy eating lifestyle the kids may adapt it till they grow up to be adults. Here are some specific causes that can increase children’s obesity.

  • Overeating or binging – the body is already full but the child continues to eat
  • Lack of exercise – couch potato lifestyle, children who watch tv or play video games all day
  • Family history – there is a 50% chance of child obesity if both parents are obese
  • Low self esteem – frustration and unsolved feelings of conflict is displaced through eating
  • Medical illness – 1% of obesity in children is caused by some other endocrine or neurological medical condition

Teens are prone to obesity because they undergo series of changes in their body emotionally and physically. Some adolescents who cannot cope with peer pressure and stress from school tend to fall into depression thus causing overeating or binging. Children who grow up without proper nourishment from healthy servings of food on the dinner table may grow up to be obese adults.

Parents play a significant role in preventing children obesity. What parents do and serve to their children determines what their children’s eating habits. Serving healthy snacks such as fruits and yogurt to replace chips and fried French fries can definitely make a difference. Planning meals on a weekly basis will avoid the need to grab take out or order pizza for dinner. Increasing physical activity will also help in losing those excess pounds from an increased caloric intake. Parents should encourage their children to play outdoor sports or join summer camps to avoid the couch potato lifestyle.

If a child’s obesity is caused by an underlying medical condition then consult a doctor to best manage the disease and work around being on the normal weight appropriate for your child’s age to avoid other complications such as heart diseases and diabetes.

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