Childhood obesity is a burden in developed and developing countries. Overweight and obesity are caused by numerous social and environmental factors that influence people’s food habit and physical activity. Childhood obesity, in developed countries has reached epidemic proportion and developing countries are not far behind. It has been estimated that worldwide over 22 million children under the age of 5 are obese, and one in 10 children is overweight.
Childhood obesity is a serious health threat to children. Kids in the obese category 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
Childhood obesity doesn’t just affect physical health. Children and teens who are overweight or obese can become depressed and have poor self-image and self-esteem.
Family history, psychological factors, and lifestyle all play a role in childhood obesity. Children whose parents or other family members are overweight or obese are more likely to follow suit. But the main cause of childhood obesity is a combination of eating too much and exercising too little.
A poor diet containing high levels of fat or sugar and few nutrients can cause kids to gain weight quickly. Fast food, candy, and soft drinks are common culprits. Convenience foods, such as ready to eat breakfast & dinners, salty snacks, and canned food , can also contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Some children become obese because their parents don’t know how to choose as they get carried away with advertisements claiming to be healthy or simply do not cook .
Not enough physical activity can be another cause of childhood obesity. People of all ages tend to gain weight when they’re less active. Exercise burns calories and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Children who aren’t encouraged to be active may be less likely to burn extra calories through sports, time on the playground, or other forms of physical activity.
Psychological issues may also lead to obesity in some children. Kids and teens who are bored, stressed, or depressed may eat more to cope with negative emotions.
Children who are obese have a higher risk of developing health problems than their peers who maintain a healthy weight. Cardiovascular disease , Diabetes, Joint Pains, and asthma are among the most serious risks.
Healthy Eating and Nutrition for Obese Children
Changing the eating habits of obese children is absolutely essential. Parental influence shapes your child’s eating patterns. Most kids eat what their parents buy, so healthy eating needs to start with you.
Start your nutrition overhaul by limiting sweets and soft drinks in your home. Even drinks made from 100-percent juice can be high in calories. Instead, serve water and lower-fat or nonfat milk with meals. Cut back your fast food consumption and make a conscious effort to cook more. Preparing a meal and eating together is not only healthy in a nutritional sense, but it’s also an excellent way to sneak in some family time. Sticking to traditional foods not only – I need to add a line here.
Lifestyle Changes to Fight Childhood Obesity
There are several different strategies that can help prevent childhood obesity.
Increase Physical Activity
Increase your child’s level of physical activity to help them shed weight safely. Use the word “activity” instead of “exercise” or “workout” to keep them interested. Playing pakdam pakdi , dog and the bone outside, for example, may be more appealing to a 7-year-old than jogging around the block. Consider encouraging your child to try a sport for which they’ve expressed an interest.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get at least one hour’s worth of exercise daily to remain healthy.
More Family Activities
Find activities the entire family can enjoy together. This is not only a great way to bond, but it also helps your child learn by example. Hiking, swimming, or even playing tag can help your child get active and start on the path to a healthier weight. Be sure to vary activities to prevent boredom.
Cut Down on Screen Time
Limit screen time, too. Kids who spend several hours a day watching television, playing computer games, or using their smartphones or other devices are more likely to be overweight. According to studies reported by the Harvard School of Public Health, the reason for this may be twofold. First, screen time eats into time that could be spent doing physical activities instead. And second, more time in front of the TV means more time for snacking, and more exposure to ads for the high-sugar, high-fat foods that make up most food marketing.
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Childhood obesity is a serious issue in the world today . However, with proper education and support, children can learn healthier ways to cope with their problems, prepare meals, and stay active. This support must come from the adults in their lives: parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Help your children stay healthier for longer by preparing nutritious foods for them and encouraging them to get plenty of exercise.