COver the past three decades the prevalence of over weight and child obesity has increased substantially. Globally, an estimated 170 million children (aged less than 18 years) are now estimated to be overweight. The highest prevalence of childhood overweight is in upper-middle-income countries. When taken as a group, low-income countries have the lowest prevalence rate. However, overweight is rising in almost all countries. With prevalence rates growing fastest in lower-middle-income countries
Hence child obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. So, children who are obese are above the normal weight for their age and height.
Child obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds. Often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems. These problems may include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Many obese children become obese adults, especially if one or both parents are obese. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.
Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. Also, the overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Body mass index, or BMI, is a widely used screening tool for measuring both overweight and obesity. BMI percentile is preferred for measuring children and young adults (ages 2–20). Because it takes into account that they are still growing. Growing at different rates depending on their age and sex. Therefore, health professionals use growth charts to see whether a child’s weight falls into a healthy range for the child’s height, age, and sex.
Childhood Obesity and Child Well Being
Child obesity has immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social, and emotional health. For example:
- Certainly, children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases that impact physical health. Such as asthma, sleep a neap, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease.
- Children with obesity are bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers, and are more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
- In the long term, childhood obesity also is associated with having obesity as an adult. Which is linked to serious conditions and diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and several types of cancer.
Energy Balance and Causes of Obesity
Many factors contribute to childhood obesity, including:
- Metabolism—how your body changes food and oxygen into energy it can use
- Eating and physical activity behaviors
- Environmental factors
- Also, the social and individual psychology
Over time, consuming more energy from foods and beverages than the body uses for healthy functioning, growth, and physical activity, leads to extra weight gain. Energy imbalance is a key factor behind the high rates of obesity seen globally.
Furthermore, the dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society. So, these sectors include families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
What Diseases Are Obese Children at Risk For?
Obese children are at risk for a number of conditions, including:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Early heart disease
- Also, the bone problems
- Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne
Controlling Childhood Obesity
Above all, balance is the key in helping your child maintain a healthy weight. So, balance the calories your child eats and drinks with the calories used through physical activity and normal growth.
Overweight and obese children and teens should reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Do not put your child on a weight-reduction diet without talking to your health care provider.
Balancing Calories: Help Kids Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Also, offer your kids nutritious meals and snacks with an appropriate number of calories. You can help them develop healthy eating habits by making favorite dishes healthier. And by reducing calorie-rich temptations.
Encourage healthy eating habits. Small changes can lead to a recipe for success!
- Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products.
- Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
- Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans for protein.
- Serve reasonably sized portions.
- Also, encourage your family to drink lots of water.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar, sodium and saturated fat also.
Make favorite dishes healthier
Some of your favorite recipes can be healthier with a few changes. You can also try some new heart-healthy dishes that might just become favorites too!
Remove calorie-rich temptations
Treats are OK in moderation, but limiting high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks can also help your children develop healthy eating habits.
Help your kids understand the benefits of being physically active
Teach them that physical activity has great health benefits likewise:
- Strengthening bone
- Decreasing blood pressure
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Increasing self-esteem
- Helping with weight management
Help kids stay active
Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. And every day if possible. You can set a great example! Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine. So, encourage your child to join you. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:
- Brisk walking
- Playing tag
- Jumping rope
- Playing soccer
Reduce sedentary time
Although quiet time for reading and home work is fine. But limit “screen time” (TV, video games, Internet) to no more than two hours a day.