Childhood Obesity is rampant and extremely common nowadays. It causes numerous health and mental issues in children and affects their overall performance and well being. Obese children grow into obese adults without proper care and guidance, putting them at risk of heart and lifestyle diseases, diabetes etc.
Causes of Obesity in children
Children become obese / overweight due to various reasons such as unhealthy eating habits due to advent of junk/fast food culture, lack of physical activity and more of screen time due to video games, computer, television and mobile, genetic factors etc. It is usually not a hereditary problem. Parenting style, family’s lifestyle, school environment, school demographics, parents’ job conditions, and time spent with children in teaching them healthy food habits and table manners contribute towards obesity in children. Various researches also linked consumption of fast food, sugary beverages and bigger portion sizes with childhood obesity.
Side effects of childhood obesity
Obesity in children bring upon them a host of diseases in later stages of life such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, asthma, bone problems, lethargy along mental issues such as insomnia, low self-esteem etc. Such children can also develop eating disorders. They usually fall prey to body shaming and thus can affect their social and emotional health. Negative self-image and depression can also lead to low academic performance, inability to perform in physical activities unlike their peers which overall affects self-confidence. Obese children also refrain themselves from socializing to prevent from negative comments and body shaming and prefer to stay at home and indulge in sedentary lifestyle.
Treatment for Childhood obesity
Correction of diet and introducing healthy nutritional food helps in curbing obesity. A diet comprising of low carbohydrates and calories along with high fibre, proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed on a daily basis along with proper emphasis on portion size and an increase in physical activity. Children should be kept away from consumption of simple carbohydrates, processed foods, fast foods, fried, junk foods, high calorie foods and carbonated drinks.
Prevention of childhood obesity
Parents play a strong role in preventing childhood obesity. They have to be role models for the children and show them the correct path of nutritional and healthy eating along with a fit and healthy lifestyle complete with physical exercises and activities. Dedicating an activity for the entire family like swimming, cycling, running, jogging, skipping, walking or even playing active games daily can encourage the children to be active. Family, friends, schools etc play an important role in propagating healthy eating habits and physical playtime as well.
With a little encouragement, support and help the problem of obesity in children can be completely eliminated, giving our children a chance at healthy and stress free living.