Obesity in children has become an epidemic level including the developing countries. Parents panic looking at their child’s health condition. But you the kids can over come the problem with simple ways to reduce obesity. Parents must first make sure to prevent obesity in the children.
Obesity and overweight is the biggest health concern in U.S. Around 21-24% of children and adults are suffering with overweight and 16-18% are suffering with obesity. It is due to the various causes and risk factors. If you are still unnoticed about the causes, risk factors of childhood obesity then this article is for you.
Parents must take extensive care for their obese or over weight kids. After reducing the weight, you must not let it regain. That means, it is equally important to prevent obesity post the weight loss. We have given the right inputs that you must keep in mind to control and prevent obesity in children.
Is obesity in kids dangerous??
Childhood obesity is said to be a critical health condition as it impacts both the ways- physical and mental state.(R)
The kids with obesity are inclined to grow with mental stress, self esteem, social and emotional weakness.
The medical researches say that children with over weight and obesity are expected to develop the non communicable diseases like diabetes and heart related problems at younger age. The various give in to cause the diseases from obesity. The causes are linked to lifestyle, diet, environmental factors.
What are the symptoms you find in Overweight kids?
Identifying the symptoms of over weight kids is a bit tricky. Few kids are just healthy with extra pounds due to their body structure and height. The below symptoms may help you to find out if your kid is obese or overweight-
1. Breathing disorder
Asthma is more common in people with obesity. The over fat around the respiratory system blocks the airways and makes the breathing difficult. That is how obesity is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (COPD) (R)
2. Abdominal fat
All children with extra pounds are not obese or over weight. Children may look like over weight with their body frame. The change of obesity is at abdomen. If your child is developing abdominal fat then you can see at as a symptom of obesity.
Depression is, sadness, anxiety are linked to obesity. Studies say that people who are obese are higher chances of developed stress and anxiety issues. It is applicable for childhood obesity as well.
4. Sleep apnea
One of the clear symptoms of obesity in children is lack of sleep. Children with obesity are experience sleep disruption. The fat accumulated in upper respiratory tract makes the airway narrow which stops the muscle activity that leads to sleep apnea.
What are the causes a child has to face with Obesity in Kids?
In some cases, it is not a single cause that affects the child with obesity. It can be more than one cause that enhances the risk of obesity in childhood. Know these risk factors that are contributing to child obesity-
1. Unhealthy diet
Diet is the primary risk factor for obesity. The children who eat fast foods, processed foods frequently are majorly affected with obesity. The sugary drinks and foods are an addition to the risk of weight gain in children. The sugar in fruit juices are not healthy as advertised as it results in obesity over the time ultimately.
2. No exercise
If you think children don’t need physical fitness then it is untrue. Even kids need to practice exercise and burn calories. Kids who don’t exercise are more at risk of developing the obesity and gain over weight.
The study says no physical activity is affecting the physical health of children and adults.(R)
If your kids are from a family with history of obesity, then are full chances for the to develop obesity as well. Moreover, the food habits and their lifestyle level up the risk of obesity.
4. Psychological problems
The experts says the psychological problems develop obesity and overweight children. Stress and anxiety may share the effects on physical health. The social problems like bullying are other factors that affect the children’s mind. These are the common personal problems that children face but they have significant impact on mental health.
Other ways that can affect children mind is study pressure, parental problems at home, their environment and boredom.
There is possibility of developed obesity due to certain prescribed drugs for medications. Some of the drugs that has the side effects of obesity are propranolol, prednisone, lithium, paroxetine, amitriptyline. You must be aware of the side effects of the medications that given to your children.
Complications Due to Obesity in Children
Obesity in childhood can lead to long term effects. They may develop both physical and mental health risks. People with childhood obesity are prone to-
High blood pressure
Blood flow from heart to all the body parts is a crucial function. Due to overweight, there is a possibility of heart making more efforts to pass blood through arteries. It strains your arteries and raises the blood pressure.
Risk factor for heart related diseases
The high blood pressure and cholesterol eventually affects your heart. It makes the heart arteries narrow and lead to heart attack. Childhood obesity is seen as a vulnerable risk for heart diseases.
Respiratory Disorders like asthma, sleep apnea
Due to the fat formation at respiratory tract, the airway gets blocked. This results in respiratory disorders in the obese children at younger age further.
5 Simple Steps While Reducing Obesity in Kids
Childhood obesity is seen as a risk for mass population. Hence, governments are actively taking measures to prevent it. The awareness campaigns about obesity in children and youth. All the levels of governments are involved in conducting the health assessments, offering health policies and health assurance.
Above all, parents must be conscious about their kids health and well being. Parents must identify obesity symptoms and take try to control it at earlier stages. Here are a few simple steps that to implement for the obesity affected kids-
1. Ask them to practice exercise
We told the risk of obesity with lack of exercise and physical activities in children. The best way to maintain healthy weight for kids is to include exercises. You can make it fun and interesting for them. Include a sport during the playtime. Sports are a good lifestyle routine for fitness and well being.
Exercise help your kids to burn the extra calories. It is an ultimate way for children to be active in their everyday life. They feel refreshed and will be able to focus on their goals.
Hydration for kids is as important as for adults. Water increases the amount of calories burn in children. Hydration along with active lifestyle of children can aid in reducing weight.
A study related to overweight and obesity found that drinking cold water increases 25% of metabolic rate. (R) Plus include water content foods lie fruits and vegetables. This makes their diet colorful to eat and keeps them hydrated.
3. Enough of sleep
Parents must see that their kids get enough sleep to reduce obesity. Many studies showed that kids who don’t get enough sleep gain weight. When you are trying to help your kid reduce weight. You must make sure that they sleep well.
Don’t allow them to watch, study, play video games late night. You must set their ealry meal times and sleep times. These simple habits can promote weight loss and maintain healthy weight in your kids.
Pay attention to your child’s sleep cycle. The kids younger than 5 years need 5 hours of sleep, the kids between 5-10 years need 10 hours of sleep and kids above 10 years need 9 hours of sleep.
4. Cut off the junk
Parents must be cautious about their child’s food habits in the time of reducing obesity. See that your child stays away from junk food. Cutting off the junk food can make the weight loss efforts effective. Otherwise, it worsens and becomes tougher to treat if neglected.
The best thing is don’t bring any junk food to home. Stopping food cravings in children is not easy when it is available at home. So, make this change for your kids health and well being.
5. Follow a healthy diet for whole family
Let the weight loss be a healthy phase for your child. For this, you must make a healthy diet plan for whole family. A separate diet or plan can make your child feel isolated. If you want to be supportive and encourage your child health then bring these simple and significant changes.
What are the Preventive measures for Childhood Obesity to not acquire again?
i. Monitor your kids mental state
The medical sources say that mental state can impact the physical health. Hence, you must remember to monitor your child’s mental condition.
Kids go through the stress that they don’t express at home. If your child is not coming up with complains then don’t assume that he/she is happy. You need to be interactive and communicate often to know their problems.
Children who are in their schooling face bullying, teasing, academic stress. You must often a close eye on your child’s mental health. Make sure that your child’s environment is comfortable, secure and pleasant.
ii. Put off the T.V while eating
Kids tend to over eat while watching television. Don’t allow them to watch T.V, play video games during the meal times. In fact, there is an observation of kids who watched T.V while eating. The study says watching T.V while eating breakfast has associations than other meals. (Lunch and dinner) (R)
iii. Include fruits and vegetables to diet
As you include fruits and vegetables to the daily diet, it adds hydration. When your kids get enough of health foods, they feel full. It reduces the cravings for junk food. The healthy foods are providing the vitamins and minerals that makes your child healthier. Keep them motivated to eat good foods.
Milk and other diary products are a good source of protein. But parents must prefer low fat or non fat diary products for their kids to prevent obesity says, the Center of Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) (R)
iv. Choose healthy snacks
Restricting children from snacks cannot stop them from eating junk. They may tend to go pick more of junk if you start restricting them. Instead, you can proactively offer them healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, wholegrain bread sandwich or a piece of dark chocolate.
On the other hand, you must make sure your child don’t eat fast foods often. Fast food is the culprit for obesity in children. Talk to your children about junk food, unhealthy snacks affect their health. This is a practical way to to prevent kids developing obesity.
v. Encourage for a favourite physical activity
If your children wants to choose any physical activity then do encourage them. Usually, children show interest in sports, dance and martial arts. All these interests are helpful in keeping the fit and active. Allow them to pick an activity for everyday practice as it prevents obesity.
You must give right care for your kids to overcome the obesity problem. Your support and guidance can makes it easier for them to be healthy. We reiterate to take measure to prevent obesity. And never let your child to be self isolated. You need to monitor your child’s overall health condition frequently. Talk about to losing weight to your kids and expound the about maintaining a healthy weight.