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Childhood Obesity: When Food Becomes Too Much For Children

posted on 6/23/2016 Facebook Facebook

Every parent wants their children to be fit and healthy. While one doesn’t let their children smoke or drink alcohol, how flexible a parent are you when it comes to junk food and treats? With super busy schedules, parents hardly find time to come home and cook. In such scenarios, children get used to the takeaway meals that their parents pick up on their way back home. In fact, after awhile they look forward to it.

Growing children have a growing palate too and their taste buds get used to the foods that you introduce in their diet. Be it healthy version like vegetables or fruits or calorie dense foods loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. But while their taste buds enjoy the new tastes, their digestive system is hardly capable of metabolizing such foods, result—fat.

What is Childhood Obesity?

Assuming most of you are aware of the term ‘obesity’, childhood obesity is nothing but a similar medical condition that affects young children and adolescents. It’s not a matter of a couple of pounds but a huge overdue on the required weight for his/her age and height. 

According to WHO, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. It is particularly troubling in the essence that excess weight can put your children at a higher risk of serious illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart issues. It may also be one of the reasons behind your child’s self-esteem and confidence. 

But remember there is a fine line between being overweight and being obese. You may not be able to tell just by looking at your child if he or she is overweight. Some children have larger body frames as compared to others. The amount of fat on any child’s body also varies depending on the stage of development. So, if you realize that your little sweetheart is putting too much weight suddenly then it is best to talk to his/her doctor. 

Is There A Way To Fight Childhood Obesity?

Ofcourse there is! Common sense would tell any parent that unhealthy eating and drinking habits consisting of foods rich in saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugar are going to make your child put on oodles of weight. Not to mention the little amount of home cooked food that children are eating now-a-days owing to their parents’ hectic schedule. 

And the guilt that comes with you being away, only makes it easier to trick you a trip to the ice cream corner as a consolation to make up for the lost time. Besides pizza night is ever so appealing always. The point being that you may actually be the reason behind your child’s obesity. 

1. As a parent, you can take a few steps to take charge of your child’s eating habits and nutrition. You can encourage your child to eat healthy by:

2. Packing healthier lunch boxes as opposed to ready to eat meals.

3. Formulate innovative ways to include fruits and vegetables in their meals

4. Making sure they eat a healthy and proper breakfast each morning

5. If you are a working parent and do not find time to cook on a daily basis, you can cook over healthier food over the weekends and freeze them in your refrigerator which can be used over the week.

6. Remember do not use food as a reward, whether for your guilt or every little thing. 

7. Refrain taking your kids to eat outside regularly.

8. Indulge them in simple cooking activities to keep them engaged with food telling them benefits of vegetables or fruits while cooking with them.

9. Do not stock your refrigerator with sodas, sugar treats and high calorie food snacks. 

References:

1. Karnik S, Kanekar A. Childhood obesity: a global public health crisis. Int J Prev Med. 2012 Jan;3(1):1-7. PubMed PMID: 22506094; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3278864.

2. Gurnani M, Birken C, Hamilton J. Childhood Obesity: Causes, Consequences, and Management. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2015 Aug;62(4):821-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 May 23. Review. PubMed PMID: 26210619.

3. Vos MB, Welsh J. Childhood obesity: update on predisposing factors and prevention strategies. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2010 Aug;12(4):280-7. doi:10.1007/s11894-010-0116-1. PubMed PMID: 20563673; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3056648.

4. Kar SS, Dube R, Kar SS. Childhood obesity-an insight into preventive strategies. Avicenna J Med. 2014 Oct;4(4):88-93. doi: 10.4103/2231-0770.140653.Review. PubMed PMID: 25298951; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4183902.

5. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth; Koplan JP, Liverman CT, Kraak VI, editors. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83825/ doi: 10.17226/11015

6. Bridger, T. (2009). Childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease. Paediatrics & Child Health, 14(3), 177–182.

7. Ofei, F. (2005). Obesity - A Preventable Disease. Ghana Medical Journal, 39(3), 98–101.

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