|Eating is arguably one of the favorite pastimes of most families around the world. They say that food is better eaten when it is shared with the people we love / Photo by: belchonock via 123RF|
Eating is arguably one of the favorite pastimes of most families around the world. They say that food is better eaten when it is shared with the people we love. This can also be true for children; the more we love them, the more we somehow offer them food and treats to make them feel special. It could be very problematic since, in some cultures, a chubby or fat child is considered to be healthy. In fact, this is the opposite. A heavy weight while being young can actually lead to childhood obesity and it may start different conditions that can affect a child’s health.
What is Obesity?
According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine page, the main website of the Johns Hopkins Health System that focuses on health and other medical services, obesity is a chronic condition that affects many people around the world. In the US alone, there has been an increase in the number of obese people since the 1980s. Around 35 percent of adults in America are considered obese and about 17 percent of children are also affected by this chronic condition.
Being obese can lead to serious health issues such as diabetes, heart failure, depression, and other life-threatening illnesses. In some cases, obese children can also be bullied or isolated in school, making them feel more of a social outcast. The problem with obesity is that the longer one is obese, the higher the risks of certain medical conditions are to happen. What’s worse is that obesity isn’t something easily treated, and it could lead to certain death if not resolved.
For parents, it is essential to make sure that they prevent obesity from happening to their children. In most cases, when a child is obese, it continues into adulthood, making more room for illnesses to appear. Common ailments include heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
|Being obese can lead to serious health issues such as diabetes, heart failure, depression, and other life-threatening illnesses. In some cases, obese children can also be bullied or isolated in school / Photo by: Kwanchai Chai-udom via 123RF|
Cause of Obesity
In children, there are several reasons why obesity can happen. According to WebMD, a leading website that focuses on medicine, health journalism, and health information, some of these factors include genetics, lack of physical activity, bad eating patterns, and unhealthy food. Sometimes, a combination of such factors may cause obesity in children. Also, there are some cases wherein hormonal problems can be the cause of a child to become obese, although this is very rare. A doctor should be able to tell through different tests if the cause can be medical in nature.
You cannot actually know if your child is overweight unless you ask your child’s doctor. One of the bases could be your child’s BMI or body mass index. The result can be compared to the standard values for weight and height in people. Age and growth patterns are also considered in determining obesity in children.
Battling and Preventing Obesity
Parents should be at the forefront of preventing obesity in children. As much as possible, a healthcare professional should be involved as well so that there is a certainty that obesity cannot happen. You cannot just simply impose a particular diet onto an overweight child without a doctor’s advice since they are still in their development years, and nutrition is important for growing children. If you can, weight maintenance should be your goal, especially if the child is not yet overweight.
Kids will usually follow whatever their parents do, so if you can, lead your children as good examples of healthy eating and living. Physical activity should be promoted, like morning exercises, jogging, or even playing outside. What your child sees you do is what they will follow. You can also enroll your child in sports or other activities that require physical movement. However, make sure that you are sensitive enough to feel if your child is embarrassed about doing something.
Technological advancement has made it easier for us to become lazy. Many people are spending more time playing with their gadgets than going outside or exercising. As parents, you should be able to reduce the time your child is on the screen, and let them do activities that are not totally sedentary.
As for meals, you control what your child eats, so it is essential for you to choose meals that are healthy and well-balanced. Allowing your child to munch on snacks before meals could lead to eating problems in the future. If you can hire the assistance of a dietician, do so in order to make sure that your child is eating healthily and getting the most out of the food they eat.
Finally, your focus should not solely be on preventing your child to become overweight. Focus on health above anything else, and being overweight will actually be out of the picture. A positive attitude toward exercise and food can give your child a head start on what they can do in order to be healthy. Although you do not need to let go of some treats like sweets, you can give them as rewards whenever your child does something healthy for the day.
|Kids will usually follow whatever their parents do, so if you can, lead your children as good examples of healthy eating and living. Physical activity should be promoted, like morning exercises, jogging, or even playing outside / Photo by: Katarzyna Białasiewicz via 123RF|