Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Control Childhood Obesity

You don’t need a survey to track the rise in obesity among children. Only a visit to your kid’s school will be more than enough to get a clear picture. Children are becoming extra large these days! And the experts blame the marketing muscle exercised by fast food chains and quick serve restaurants for this. There is also a greater likelihood for plump kids to grow in overweight teens and finally as obese adults. Hence, it becomes imperative to curb childhood obesity.

Dr Atul Peters, Director, Institute of Bariatric, Metabolic & Minimal Access Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi tells you all about this dreadful disease that is complicating the young lives today. Read on to understand the obvious causes, the after affects as well as about the actions, as a parent, you can take.

When a child is overweight or obese

Kids fall into one of below given four categories:

Underweight: BMI below the 5th percentile
Normal weight: BMI at the 5th and less than the 85th percentile
Overweight: BMI at the 85th and below 95th percentiles
Obese: BMI at or above 95th percentile

To look for overweight, calculate BMI by dividing weight in kg by height in meters squared. For pounds and inches, divide weight by height squared and multiply the result by the conversion factor 703. When a child is above the normal weight for his or her age and height, he/she can be referred overweight.

What are the causes

Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. However, the most common causes are:

Genes play a crucial part in the current obesity crisis as it helps determine body type and how your body stores and burns fat similarly as they help determine other traits.

Poor eating habits like consumption of high energy, nutrient poor foods which are high in simple sugar and unhealthy fats. When the baby is young, mothers tend to force feed their child with rich, creamy food, thinking that it will nourish their foundation. But in contrary, this lays the foundation for obesity in children. Moreover, as the child grows he also bombarded with the ads of hard sells junk food which again encourage unhealthy eating. Also if the adults in the family eat junk or unhealthy foods, it is not the child’s fault to give in to such temptation.

Lack of physical activity All TV and no play makes kids fatter day by day. Apart from the junk Too much of sedentary lifestyle is responsible for making our kids overweight. Earlier kids would hop and jump in the playground after coming from the school, but now they sit before the TV or watch re-runs of their favourite shows or play online games. Internet too sneaks in the lives of kids in the garb of research for homework, and in turn lessens the time spent on the playground. Moreover, popcorn, cakes, cookies and chips give kids company while they while away time online.

Why is it dreadful

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. Kids who are obese have far greater likelihood in growing as obese adults. And, they turn on a greater risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low energy levels and sleep apenea. Obese girls have an increased likelihood of developing polycystic ovarian disease, hormonal concerns and infertility. In long run, obesity also put kids on increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Also an obese child can’t negate social and psychological problems such as stigmatization, negative self esteem, depression and anxiety. In long run, they get trapped in the vicious cycle of obesity. Their peers and fellow classmates trigger end of jibes and sneers and to bottle up their sadness, an obese kid start eating more, particularly junk food which acts as comfort foods. And this way get entrapped in the vicious circle.

What parents can do

Encourage healthy eating habits. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, and low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein. Encourage to drink at least 8 ounce of water a day. Fruits must be served in appetizing manner in between meals. To develop interest, involve your kids in menu planning, buying grocery and cooking.

Restrict calorie-rich temptations like chocolates, chips, ice creams and other high-fat and high-sugar, or salty snacks. Teach them the difference between healthy foods and junk foods and try adding tasty fruit and vegetable recipes such as a medium-size apple, a medium-size banana, 1 cup berries or grapes. You can allow them to eat their temptations at times in moderations a truly treats.

Watch portion sizes and make them understand the concept of balance diet, different nutrients and their functions in our body. Our plates have become bigger over the years, and we are often guilty of piling them high with food. Generally, vegetables should fill over half the plate for you too.

Eat together as often as possible. Not only is it more fun, but studies have shown that children who regularly eat with their parents consume more fruit and vegetables, and are usually less likely to be overweight.

Make them participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. Include brisk walking, playing tag, rope jumping, playing soccer, swimming or dancing, etc. in your own daily routine to encourage your child to join you.

Reduce sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day.

With firm, loving support, as an involved parent you should make smart lifestyle modifications and effectively help your child overcome obesity.

by Priya Singh

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One Response

July 24, 2013

The important info listed here is definitely interesting. I have been taught lots of helpful hints.


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