Childhood Obesity

childhood obesity
Obesity in children can affect not just their health condition but also their physical, emotional, and social well-being.

What is Childhood Obesity?

Childhood Obesity is a complex medical condition. It occurs when the child exceeds its normal or healthy weight based on his or her age and height.

Children who are obese have surpassed simply being overweight and are at risk for a number of chronic health conditions. Poor health stemming from childhood obesity can continue into adulthood. 

In addition, Childhood Obesity is a serious health condition that can lead to poor self-esteem and depression. In this article, we are going to know the causes, and consequences of Childhood Obesity. 

Causes

There are lots of causes of Childhood Obesity and some of these are the following: 

  1. Family factors 

– If the child is from a family of overweight people, there is a possibility that he/she may be more likely to put on weight. These are children with an environment of people who also don’t encourage physical activities. People who also prefer unhealthy foods or high-calorie food can also be the cause.

  1. Lack of exercise 

-These are children who don’t perform outdoor activities or any other physical activities. Also, children who prefer staying at home watching television or playing computer online games might be more likely to gain weight because they don’t use any physical movement. This now means they don’t burn as many calories from their body. 

  1. Diet 

-This refers to children who don’t follow a regular diet. Also, children who regularly eat high-calorie food.

Fast foods, baked goods, other vending machine snacks, sweet foods, and drinks, especially fruit and chocolate drinks, can typically make the children gain so much weight. Obviously, these foods are high in protein and carbohydrates.

  1. Psychological Factors 

-This refers to the consequence of your environment such as parental and family stress which will now lead to personal stress which can increase a child’s risk of obesity. Due to this stress that children are coming up against, it might lead him/her to divert his/her attention in eating unhealthy foods. This is his/her way of coping with the problem or dealing with his/her emotions, such as stress. 

Consequences

Childhood obesity often causes complications in a child’s physical, social and emotional well-being. Children who have obesity are more likely to have the following: 

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol 
  • Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes 
  • Breathing problems such as asthma 
  • Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort. 
  • Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux  
  • Psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. 
  • Low self-esteem and lower self-reported quality of life. 
  • Social problems such as bullying and stigma. 

Future Health Risk

  • Children who are considered as obese are more likely to become adults with obesity. Moreover, Adult obesity is associated with increased risk of several serious health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. 
  • For children who are considered as obese, obesity and disease risk factors in adulthood are likely to be more severe. 

Symptoms of Obesity

There are various stages of development, these allow the children to normally carry different amounts of body fat based on what stage of development they are in.

The most obvious symptom is the increase in weight, therefore the symptoms that may be presented arise from this increase in weight that, among others, may be:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Back and/or joint pains
  • Excessive sweating
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Infections in skin folds
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of shortness of breath (dyspnoea).

Prevention

Prevention on Childhood Obesity is important to be able to avoid health problems and more serious medical conditions. To help prevent excess weight gain in your child, you can: 

  • Set a good example.  
http://www.christiancounselingcenters.org/principles-of-good-parenting/

As a parent, you should act as a good role model for your children. This is by doing regular physical activity and of course, by eating healthy foods. By doing that healthy and regular physical activity, you can help encourage other members of your family especially your children, and no one will feel singled out. 

  • Have healthy snacks available.
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/helping-your-child-who-is-overweight

Healthy snacks include mixed nuts, red bell pepper with guacamole, apple slices with peanut butter, and a lot more. A healthy snack doesn’t need to be complicated. A single piece of fruit can already be incredibly satisfying. 

Other Preventions

  • Offer new foods multiple times.  
https://medium.com/@michaelmoodyfitness/5-mistakes-parents-make-when-feeding-their-kids-review-8d9b6e6facb3

If your child didn’t prefer healthy foods that you’ve prepared on the first try, you can still try to offer him/her some other healthy snacks. Eventually, you’ll get to know what food his/her body accepts. It just requires a lot of patience and understanding as a parent. 

In addition, to help children develop healthy eating habits, you need to: 

  1. Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products. 
  2. Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, including cheese and yogurt. 
  3. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein. 
  4. Encourage your family to drink lots of water. 
  5. Limit sugary drinks. 
  6. Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat. 
  • Choose nonfood rewards.  
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/with_kids_love_is_in_the_little_things

Guaranteeing nonfood rewards like candy, junk foods, and other unhealthy foods for good behavior is not a great idea after all 

  • Be sure your child gets enough sleep.  
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/co-sleeping-older-children_l_6076f968e4b020e576bf5435

Some studies indicate that sleep deprivation may increase the risk of obesity. It can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to increased appetite. Also, their blood glucose and cortisol will remain elevated during the night; This will then lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 

Importance of being Healthy

The most important thing is to make sure that your child sees his/her doctor for a check-up for at least once a year to make sure that he/she is physically fit and healthy. 

It is necessary for us to live in a healthy physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. Checking about our weight and making sure that we’re in a balanced and healthy lifestyle is already a good sign that we’re living in a healthier life. Therefore, we should all make sure that every child is living in that way too in order to prevent serious disease in relation to childhood obesity.

Remember that small changes every day can lead to success! 

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