Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Supersized Kids

Obese-KidsYou don’t need a survey to tell this. A visit to your kid’s school should be more than enough. Children are becoming extra large these days! 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. But, let’s understand first, what’s making kids overweight.

You are what you eat

Like always, weight and food share relationship with each other. In the Indian scenario when the baby is young, mothers tend to force feed the child thinking that this wil nourish the child. This lays the foundation for obesity in children. As the child grows he is bombarded with the images in media that hard sells junk food to its viewers (read children). Chandrima Sanya, mother to seven-year-old Disha says, ” Meal times have become a constant battle between me and my daughter. She insists on noodles, pizza, in place of nutritious home cooked meals.” There are many mothers who will give Chandrima company.

All TV and no play makes kids fatter day by day. Apart from the junk food 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. As kids gain the license to use the net, it means less time spent on the playground. Moreover, popcorn, cakes, cookies and chips give kids company while they while away time online.

What makes childhood obesity scary

Health risk when you grow up. Kids who are obese have far greater likelihood in growing as obese adults. And adults who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, joint pains, respiratory disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and low energy levels. Obese girls have an increased likelihood of developing polycystic ovarian disease, hormonal concerns and infertility. Besides, you can’t negate psychological problems like negative self esteem, depression and anxiety.

Getting trapped in the vicious cycle of obesity. When you are overweight you are at the receiving end of jibes and sneers of your fellow classmates and friends, explains Dr Arti Anand, Consultant, Clinical Psychologist with Ganga Ram Hospital. To bottle up sadness overweight children eat more, particularly junk food which acts as comfort foods. This starts the vicious circle, expains Dr Anand.

How can you break the vicious circle

The first step involves weaning kids from the unnecessary viewing of TV. To accomplish this, you need to figure out interests of your child that could be pursued in the spare time instead of the mindless viewing of the TV. It’s a good idea to get kids enrolled in the hobby classes.

Weaning kids off the junk food will be difficult, howevever, you could ration it. You can engage the child if he is big enough in the cooking process to arouse his interest in the healthy eating habits.

Adopt a dog. If you’ve space and resources at disposal get a dog home but only if the child had been insisting for one. Try to make the child responsible for the mandatory walks of the dog and you are sure that twice a day your child will get some physical activity.

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Category: Health Concerns
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