Childhood obesity is a serious and common problem, especially in today’s children who live in the world surrounded by TV, smartphones, computers, video games, apps, fast foods, etc. Obesity in children is resulting in many other health complications that were earlier only found in adults such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. It also leads to mental situations such as lower self-esteem or depression in children.
Despite all of this, many parents still don’t know much about childhood obesity and thus, tend to ignore the situation right in front of their eyes. In the end, it can lead to damaging results for their children. Childhood obesity is reaching the point where many kids have to undergo weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery to lose weight.
In this post, you will learn things you need to know about childhood obesity and what you can do if your child is going through the same problem.
What Causes Childhood Obesity?
Inactive lifestyles and consuming high-calorie foods are two of the main reasons that contribute to childhood obesity. But it can also be because of hereditary and hormonal factors.
There are several risk factors involved in childhood obesity such as regular consumption of foods, such as fast foods, fried snacks, baked goods, vending machine sweets, candies, desserts, sugary drinks, etc. Similarly, the lack of physical activities and the amount of time kids spend in front of the TV, mobile, or computer screen playing video games is also contributing to the issue.
Other factors such as family’s genetic history, individual, parental, or family stress or habits, easy access to supermarket foods or restaurant foods, etc. are also causing obesity in children.
Not every child who has extra pounds on the body is suffering from obesity. Some kids have a larger body structure, and they have different fat compositions at every age as they grow up. So it could be difficult to identify if your kid is suffering from obesity or not.
Obesity in children can result in different health problems type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart ailments, fatty liver disease, and more.
An obese child may also have to face joint problems such as bowlegs and fractures, due to excess weight on the joints. They might also have to suffer from problems such as asthma and sleep apnea.
How can parents know for sure?
BMI or body mass index helps in measuring the relationship between a child’s weight and height. There are specific BMI ranges for every age. If your child’s BMI exceeds the BMI range given for his or her age, they might be considered overweight or obese. But it is not easy to find if your child is obese or not unless it becomes too obvious. Furthermore, the body of a growing child keeps changing, and weight gain is one of those factors that change with age. More often than not, parents ignore the weight gain in their children, considering it to go away as they grow up.
Nonetheless, it is always recommended for parents to see a specialist about the issue instead of trying to do things on their own.
What parents can do to avoid Childhood Obesity?
There are a lot of things parents can do to avoid the issue of obesity in their children. They need to develop better eating habits for the family, create an active lifestyle for themselves and their children, stock their kitchen and refrigerator with healthy foods such as fruits and veggies, get rid of sugary drinks and junk food, etc.
Parents can’t simply force their kids to do things their way. They should set an example for their kids by following a healthy diet and active lifestyle themselves. When the whole family works together, it motivates the kids to do the same and that too enthusiastically.
Indeed, you can involve your kids in food preparation and get them excited about what they will be eating. Be aware of how you communicate with your kids about what they can or cannot eat. The whole family should work together and support each other in the effort. Here are a few tips that you can use to tackle your child’s weight gain challenges:
- Give them 5 or more helpings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Do not allow them more than 2 hours or less of time in front of the mobile, TV, or computer screen per day
- Exercising for at least 1 hour or more daily
- Avoid sugary beverages or drinks . In its place, give them fat-free milk and fresh drinking water.
Take one step at a time and reach your goal, while communicating with your child every day.
Available Weight Loss Treatments
Other than what parents can do at home for their children, there are other weight loss treatments such as bariatric surgery that can help your child lose weight. However, if they need to be treated by this weight loss surgery, it would depend on your child’s age, weight, and other health conditions.