Obesity is a complex disorder that consists of having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is not just an aesthetic problem but it does increase your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Preventing overweight in children means making smart decisions about how your family feeds and exercises and about how they spend time together. Helping children to lead a healthy lifestyle starts with the good example of parents.
What does cause Obesity?
Obesity increases the chances of a child developing medical problems that can affect their current and future health. These include serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which were previously considered exclusive to adulthood.
What are the Problems that Obese Children Face?
- Joint pain
- Breathing problems
- Asthma symptoms
- Restless sleep
- The tendency to mature prematurely
- Overweight girls can have irregular menstrual cycles and fertility problems in adulthood
- Liver and bile duct diseases
Causes of Obesity in Children
There are several factors that contribute to a person being overweight. Eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics or the combination of all these factors may be the cause.
In some cases, excessive weight gain is due to endocrine problems, genetic syndromes and/or the taking of certain medications.
Diet and lifestyle
Much of what we eat is easy and quick to prepare, from harmful fast foods to pre-cooked and processed foods. We have so tight schedules that we have little time to prepare healthier meals or to do some exercise.
In addition, nowadays life is sedentary. Children spend more time playing with electronic equipment than actively playing outdoors.
Children who spend more than four hours a day in front of screens are more likely to be overweight compared to those who spend two hours or less.
Children who are having a television in their bedroom are more likely to be obese.
Exercise and physical activity
Many children do not do enough physical activity. Older children and teenagers should do a minimum of 60 minutes of physical exercise, from moderate to vigorous, every day, including both aerobic activities and muscle toning exercises. Children from two to five years old must play actively several times a day.
Genetic factors can play a role in a child’s weight. Our genes help determine the type of body we have and the way we store and burn fat. But genes alone can not explain the current obesity crisis.
Since both genes and habits are transmitted from one generation to the next, it is possible that several members of the same family have overweight problems.
Members of the same family tend to have almost same eating habits, physical activity levels and similar attitudes to overweight. A child’s risk of obesity increases considerably if one or both parents are overweight or obese.
How is overweight and obesity prevented?
The key to getting children of all ages to maintain a healthy weight is to involve the whole family. Make healthy eating and exercise a family issue. Have your child collaborate in the planning and preparation of healthy meals. Take them with you when you go to buy food. Teach them to choose healthy foods.
Avoid these cases clearly:
- Do not reward your child for good behavior, or try to stop his misbehavior by offering treats or candy. Think of other ways to modify your behavior.
- Do not impose the rule of “always leave the plate clean”. Even babies turn their faces in the opposite direction of the bottle or breast of their mothers to indicate that they are already full if your child is already satisfied, not forced to continue eating. Reinforce the idea that you should only eat when you are hungry.
- Do not talk about “bad food” or “forbidden” or completely eliminate favorite sweets and snacks. Children can rebel and eat excessive amounts of prohibited foods when they are away from home or sneak home. Serve healthy foods most of the time and offer something that is not so healthy from time to time.
Obesity can lower your overall quality of life. You may not be able to do things you did before, such as participating in pleasurable activities. Maybe you avoid public places. Obese people can even suffer discrimination.
Avoid being obese. It’s all up to you.
Any kind of queries is welcomed in the comments.