Know the Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Child Obesity
Around 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese while the time they leave primary school. Overweight children are more likely to fall sick or be absent from schools due to illness.
The obese children also face bullying from their peers which results in their low self esteem. Being overweight increases the risk of obesity and other health problems like high cholesterol and increased blood pressure.
The good news is that the parents can take steps to avoid obesity at every stage of childhood and even during the pregnancy. Studies suggest that children whose mothers were obese or overweight have a higher risk of suffering from obesity. That is why it is important that the mothers have a healthy Body Mass Index when they are planning a pregnancy.
Causes of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has been spreading like an epidemic in most countries and it may be due to the main reason that the child eats more than required and does not participate in any physical activities.
This problem might lead to problems like juvenile diabetes and type-2 diabetes in children. According to Dr.Elizabeth Boham, a physician and nutritionist, the other causes of obesity during the childhood may be:
Childhood obesity also depends on the pregnancy of the mother, her weight during pregnancy and the kind of food she ate during her pregnancy. Though the studies on epigenetics prove that genes influence the metabolism of a child too.
The babies who are born overweight have an increased risk of obesity in their childhood or adolescence.
The children having junk foods like pizzas, burgers, coke, fries and refined cereals are one of the main causes for the increase in the rate of obese children.
Lack of proper sleep also promotes the condition of overweight which results in obesity. A lack of proper sleep schedule affects the metabolism of the child and leads to formation of appetite increasing hormone called ghrelin which makes them binge on the snacks at night.
Lifestyle of a child also affects his thoughts and activities during the day which can be a cause of over eating and obesity. Nowadays, children spend more time in front of their TV, laptops and mobile phones than going out and playing in the open. Lack of physical exercise increases their risk of being obese.
Symptoms and Complications of Childhood Obesity
According to the studies of NCBI, childhood obesity is a global epidemic that has been putting a lot of pressure on the healthcare system and it not only affects the children but their families as well.
Obesity makes the body of a child resistant to insulin increasing the chances of type-2 diabetes. The poor diet may lead to high cholesterol and increased blood pressure which increases the chances of pulmonary heart diseases and strokes.
Some children may also experience loss of breath or serious issues like sleep apnea during the night. They may experience pain in their knees, hips and back due to the increase in body weight.
Few times, the children might not show any such evident symptoms but may be diagnosed with a fatty liver after the examination.
Childhood Obesity: Treatment
The treatment for childhood obesity depends on the age and health issues of a child that may vary from child to child. The mild cases of obesity may include change in the eating habits of the child, customised diet plan or a chart for their physical activities. Extreme cases may require medications or weightloss surgeries.
According to the The American Academy of Pediatrics, a child around the age of 2 who falls under the over weight category must be put on a plan to slow down his weight gain and increase his height so that they can balance the BMI of the child.
Childhood Obesity: Prevention
Smaal changes can make a big difference for the child and it is important that the parents have a look on their child's eating habits, physical activities and their overall lifestyle to avoid the condition of overweight or obesity. They can go for the grocery shopping and decide the timings of meal for the day to help them form healthier habits.
The grocery list must have more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables instead of the readymade foods, cookies or instant noodles.
Avoid packaged drinks that increase the blood sugar levels in exchange of the calories. Replace them with fresh juices and smoothies instead.
Parents must serve their child small portions of food and give them more if they ask for it while they are hungry. Children need less food as compared to the adults.
The entire family must have their meals together if possible. Eating while watching TV or using the phone makesyour child consume more calories than they require.
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