Tag Archive | "child obesity"

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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Helping Your Overweight Child to Weigh Normal

Over the years the children who are obese are growing by the number. This may not come as a shock anymore as many kids are engaged in playing video games and watch television all day long rather than engaging in sports and playing outside. Parents are also very busy to prepare nutritious foods for their children making these kids eat junk foods that are readily available. That is why it is to no wonder why the children of today weigh heavier as compared to the children who are born ten or twenty years ago.

Some parents think that when their child is heavy, it means he is healthy. On the contrary, child obesity is linked to a lot of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers. The earlier you control your child and correct his weight, the greater chances he has in preventing the occurrence of those diseases mentioned above.

Here are some of the ways on how you can help your overweight child to weigh normal:

  • Weigh your child and tell him what his normal weight should be. When your child knows how heavy he should weigh, he will know how to control his appetite.
  • Set realistic goals with your child. As much as possible let your child decide on how much weight he needs to lose and what diet regimen he should be into.
  • In a calm and friendly manner inform your child about the harmful effects that obesity can do to his health. Make sure that your child understands your point without giving him fear.
  • Prepare healthy foods at home. When you want your child to weigh normal, the foods served at home should be healthy as much as possible, fatty foods should be eliminated. Modify your menu so that your child won’t feel left alone thinking that he is the only one eating vegetables and other healthy dishes.
  • Exercise together. Every day you can have a thirty minute walk around the neighborhood at a time where both of you are free. During weekends you can also plan different sport activities together with the rest of the family like cycling and having ballgames at the park. You are like hitting two birds at one stone by doing these; you are encouraging your child to exercise plus you are having bonding moments with the family.
  • Prepare his lunch and snacks for school. Make sure that the foods you are preparing are less in fat. Try other food preparations that are healthy yet it still makes the food of your child tasty. Instead on frying, you can try grill or steam in cooking. In making sandwiches for snacks, use dressings that are low in fat.
  • Limit dining out to fast food restaurants at least twice in a week. Yes the foods served at most fast food restaurants are unhealthy, but your child needs to have a break too. They also need to be like other children who miss eating burgers and fries. Just tell your child that eating these foods once in a while is okay just as long he doesn’t go for second serving and added dressings.
  • Weigh your child weekly. In this way both of you will know if he is progressing in achieving his goals or not. If he is losing weight, give him rewards. A simple hug and words saying that you are proud of him will surely make him happy. If he did not lose weight, comfort him and tell him not to give up. Children can be depressed when their goals are not met so it is best to reassure them that they can achieve them next time.

Your role as a parent is really very important in having your child maintain a healthy weight. Your child’s health greatly affects how you advocate being healthy in the family.

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When Your Child Overdoses on Sugar: Breaking the Sweet Habit

It’s but Mother Nature’s fault – when babies were created, they were made to recognize and appreciate sweet taste over all other tastes and flavors. It’s no wonder all babies prefer mild to severely sweet stuff, and kids love it even more. Even as adults, we have those days when a good piece of sweet and comforting chocolate cake would make everything in the world better.

But let’s face it – there are two kinds of sweets: The kind that naturally exists in foods and the kind that you add to make something sweet. Added sugar is obviously a danger to young children. Sweet snacks and desserts have heaps of this stuff which adds on ridiculous amounts of calories to a child’s diet (more than what he or she actually needs) but doesn’t exactly offer any nutrients. According to surveys, toddlers consume as much as fourteen tablespoons of sugar in a day, and preschoolers take in about seventeen spoonfuls.

This sugar habit can easily be identified as a culprit behind childhood overweight and obesity. It is also a factor behind juvenile diabetes and medical conditions such as hypertension and other heart ailments. Empty calories from sweet snacks, drinks and desserts have been found to decrease a child’s ability to concentrate in school.  

If you think your child is getting too much sugar, it’s time to break the habit by following these tips:

  1. Set boundaries. Going cold turkey may not be a good idea, especially when your child has been used to limitless access to sugary items in the house. Instead, set some rules on what and when they can eat sweet things. For example, you may impose a once-a-day rule on any sweet food item. For example: if your child insists on opening up and eating an entire chocolate bar during the day, remind him or her that he or she can’t have any ice cream after dinner once the chocolate’s been eaten. You should also set the limit on how much your child can eat. For instance, limit access to b
  2. Read the content label of your child’s foods. Don’t believe everything you read on the front of the packet or carton. Even when products boast of only health-friendly nutrients, it is more important to scrutinize the ingredients and nutritional label at the back. This is especially true in the case of juice boxes, breakfast cereals and fruity snacks. Four grams is equivalent to about a teaspoon of sugar.
  3.  Downplay the sugar. When your child eats a lot of sweet foods during the day, his or her appetite will just keep revving. When choosing snacks, go for low-sugar versions of her favorite cereals, yoghurt, milk and juice drinks. Be sure to compare content labels. 
  4.  Dish out healthier sweet stuff. When your child asks for a sweet dessert and you want to give him or her one, don’t feel bad when you know you can’t offer cookies or ice cream. The craving can still be satisfied with healthier desserts like a cinnamon-sprinkled banana or apples dunked in yoghurt.

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Health Benefits of Yoga in Children

Exercise is very much important in a person’s life no matter how old he may be. That is why even as a child, practicing an exercise routine is encouraged for the health benefits it gives. Starting healthy habits early on in life helps prevent diseases from hitting the body. And engaging your child to exercise will serve as one of the greatest teachings you have imparted as a parent.

One of the best forms of exercise that a lot of people have been engaged to is yoga. Yoga is a form of both physical and mental exercise that originally came from India. Because of the undeniable benefits it gives the body, yoga has been practiced to most countries in the world including the West.

Recognizing the advantages that yoga gives the health, many parents want their children to be practicing that form of exercise too. Just like adults, children get a lot of gains from doing yoga. Here are some of the health benefits of yoga in children:

  • Children practicing yoga helps children maintain a healthy weight. Now a day’s childhood obesity is very rampant and it makes children at risk to develop diseases early on. Diseases like diabetes mellitus that normally affects adults are now affecting children because of obesity. Exercising like yoga will help prevent your child from being obese and acquiring those diseases during their childhood.
  • Yoga teaches children the value of balance. It helps child decipher when he is already full so it helps promote healthier eating habits.
  • Yoga is good for children who are suffering from asthma because it helps strengthen the entire body including the lungs.
  • Yoga can be a great outlet for children to be relieved from the different stresses that they are in. School can be very tiring for children especially when there are so many pressures that get on the way. Practicing yoga will help your child handle these stresses well so that he can have a more relaxed state of mind needed for him to function well in school and his other social activities.
  • Because of the value of balance that it teaches. Yoga is very good in helping children to battle from depression. Many children are depressed at an early age because of parents failed marriage and peer pressure that is very common in school. Yoga will teach your child to become well rounded individuals as his mental health is developed.
  • Children who are diagnosed to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are encouraged to do yoga because the inner balance that it teaches help the child to become behaved, concentrate on activities, and have improved physical health.
  • Yoga will help the child be healthy as it promotes proper blood circulation to all parts of the body.

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Combating Child Obesity

There are a lot of children now a day’s who are either overweight or obese. Some parents may think that it is okay for their children to be fat. These parents believe that being obese won’t give the child problems since he or she is still young. But on the contrary, being obese at a young age can potentially give a lot of health problems to the child.

A child can weigh beyond normal for a variety of reasons. This can be due to a child’s inactivity like spending more time watching television or playing computer games rather than playing outdoors. Other factors that may lead a child to be obese includes poor eating habits, with conditions that affects metabolism, and if obesity runs in the family.

Here are some of the ways on how to combat child obesity:

  • Encourage physical activity. Do not think that your children are safer watching the television rather than play outdoors. Yes it may true to some extent but being inactive lead to obesity. It is best that a child has at least thirty minutes of physical activities each today to get rid of those unwanted calories and eventually weigh normally.
  • Set a good example. Children follow what their parents do. So if they see you drinking soda and indulging on sweets every time, then most likely your child will follow you too.
  • Modify your home menu. If you want your child to lose weight then cook foods that are healthy. You can always find alternatives like cooking leaner meats rather than those with fats. Try other ways to prepare food like broiling or grilling. But if you can’t get away with frying then try to use vegetable oil. They are healthier as compared to regular oils.
  • Cut the junk food. Make sure that your kitchen counter is free from sinful delights like chips and chocolates. They are very high fat content and will certainly make your child bigger and bigger especially when eaten every day. Instead stock on healthy alternatives like low fat oatmeal cookies and fiber enriched bread.
  • Make their snacks for school. Although this may be inconvenient especially for working parents, but it is the best for you to watch what they eat. The school’s cafeteria sells mostly unhealthy foods rich in fat and salt. These foods can make one fat.
  • Enroll your children to sports or dance. This is a good avenue for them to exercise and also form friendships. When a child exercises his or her chances of becoming obese is lessen.
  • Tell your child the risks and consequences of being obese. In this way they will be aware of the potential dangers and they will cooperate in planning to minimize his or her weight gain.

It is very important that the child weighs normally. When a child is obese he or she can lead to a lot of conditions like diabetes and heart problems. As parents, it is our primary duty took after our children and that includes managing their weight to normal levels. We should act now before it is too late.

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