Things that Parents Should Know about Childhood Obesity
Things about Childhood Obesity
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Childhood obesity is a medical issue, which impacts young kids as well as teenagers. A child is considered obese if his/her weight is far above the normal weight for their age and height. To find if a child is obese or not their Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated.
The childhood obesity statistics all over the world are extremely frightening and show an upward trend. In 2019, it is estimated that the number of obese children all over the world was 140 million and by 2025 this number is expected to reach 206 million. The problem of childhood obesity is global and is gradually affecting many developing as well as undeveloped nations. This can be seen from the fact that in the WHO African Region alone the number of obese children increased from 4 million in 1990 to 9 million in 2016. Various reports have shown that developing nations have more obese children.
If proper measures are not taken to control the weight gain among the children the results can be disastrous as overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults. This condition can then result in various health complications, like - hypertension and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. Not only this, but childhood obesity can also result in the child having poor self-esteem.
The causes of childhood obesity
There are various reasons because of which a child may be obese. In certain cases, the cause of obesity among a child can be related to genetics or some health issues. However, more often than not the obesity is the result of then having lots of unhealthy food and no activity. Below are some of the causes of childhood obesity among children:
- A poor diet: Poor eating habits, comprising insufficient consumption of fruits, vegetables, and milk, play a role in childhood obesity. A poor diet comprising high levels of fat or sugar and little nutrients can result in the kids gaining weight. If a child depends a lot on convenience foods, like frozen dinners, salty snacks, etc., there are chances that he/she will gain weight. Moreover, there are chances that an obese kid might be having a healthy meal, but his/her portion might be too big for their age. Not only this, with the opening of new restaurants and cafes, children often eat out and this junk diet has no nutritional value and just results in the child gaining calories. Therefore, to stay fit a child need to have a healthy diet rich in nutrients, which will, in turn, give the child energy to perform their daily activities.
- Not enough physical activity:Physical activity of any form results in burning calories, which in turn helps in weight reduction. If a child does not have an active lifestyle he/she will naturally get obese with time, which can also affect his health. Children these days spend a lot of their time on mobiles and less time on the ground playing. This is one of the major reasons for growing childhood obesity among children. It should be noted that school children with more frequent physical activity are more probable to have normal body weight.
- Genetic factors:Many studies show that a child's risk of obesity is increased in the case their parents are also obese. Nevertheless, this does not essentially mean that in such cases a child is destined to be overweight. If either one of the parents or both the parents is obese then it is important that the child takes care of his health from an early age and tries his/her best to keep their weight in check. There are very fewer cases of people where even after following a healthy diet and doing a rigorous workout are not able to lose weight all because of the genes.
Consequences of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity can have numerous consequences to your child's physical, social as well as emotional well-being. Some of these are:
- Diabetes and glucose intolerance
- High cholesterol and Hypertension
- Sleep disorders
- Bone fractures
- Being bullied
As obesity is related to diabetes in animal models of obesity, it is not a shock to find that diabetes and glucose intolerance are among the most common consequences of childhood obesity. An unhealthy lifestyle further increases the chances of getting diabetes.
The chances of kids getting Hypertension are extremely low, however, not unheard. If these diseases are not controlled in the early stages of life they can result in the accumulation of plaques in the arteries that can result in arteries to narrow and strengthen, perhaps resulting in a heart attack at the later stages of life.
Children suffering from obesity are more prone to get asthma.
Childhood obesity can result in a serious sleep disorder in which a child's breathing constantly stops and starts during sleep.
Children suffering from obesity are more prone to break bones when compared to children with normal weight.
There are more chances of obese children being bullied by their peers when compared to children with normal weight. This can result in low self-esteem among bullied kids.
There are chances that obese kids are not happy with their bodies, which can further push them towards depression.
Solutions to Childhood Obesity and Parents' Parts
As a parent, if you are dealing with obesity in your child then you need to make some major changes in their eating habits as well as lifestyle. Below are some solutions that parents can practice to fight Childhood Obesity -
- Healthy diet:It must be noted that it is not wise to take some major steps all at once, but to go slowly – changing one habit at a time. First of all, you must make sure that the child eats a healthy diet full of nutrients. The consumption of junk food should be to the minimum and only once in a few weeks. Other than this, children should be discouraged from overeating and asked to stop when they are full. As a parent, you must incorporate healthy snacks in the kid’s diet, which they can have if they feel hungry between meals.
- Encourage physical activity:As a parent, you must encourage the kids to go out and play instead of just sticking to their TV/mobile screen. This will result in them burning calories and make them fit. To limit your child’s screen time, you can use FamiSafe, which is a parental control app. This app can help parents to control the screen time of the kids by setting time limits on their device usage. This way, parents can reward screen time for the kids after they finish their homework or spend an hour playing football.
- Drink more water: Drinking more water won't only help kids to keep hydrated but will also help them in losing weight. Drinking water helps in increasing the metabolic rate. Drinking water before meals makes you feel fuller, which can help the kids in losing their weight.
- Reduce Screen Time: In this digital age, kids are spending so much time on their devices playing games, chatting with friends, or just browsing. Screen time has taken up most of their daily time. Luckily, parents can limit their kid’s screentime using FamiSafe Parental Control app.
Features of FamiSafe:
- Screen Time:This is a feature that is a must-have for most parents who are worrying about their kid's weight. With this feature, you can set up a screen usage limit or block the device on one tap.
- Smart Schedule:You can set up a schedule for your kids to take exercise using this feature. Your kids will not be able to use their phones or the blocked apps during the schedule you set up.
- App Blocker: You can use this feature to block games, videos app like TikTok to urge your kids to use the time to take a walk.
Childhood obesity is a medical issue, which if not tackled in the early stages can result in obesity and various other medical as well as psychological problems. As a parent, you must try your best to control childhood obesity in your kids. The best you can do to control obesity in your kids is to encourage them to eat healthily and make sure they have enough physical activity. FamiSafe is one app, which can help in making sure that kids have enough activity by controlling their screen time as excessive use of mobile phones is one of the reasons because of which kids avoid going out to play. The solutions given above can help you to fight childhood obesity.