Help Your Children Prevent Obesity
Edited by Debbie, Charmed, Sadelape, Rose B and 5 others
Did you know that 22 million children under the age of five are overweight? A national survey reported that one in three kids are overweight or obese. In the last three decades, obesity has more than tripled in the U.S. in children from ages 6 to 11. A pediatric surgeon commented that this may be the first generation to die before their parents do, from the problems of obesity.
What are the complications of being overweight? A person's blood pressure rate can go up, and diabetes and heart troubles are common. Thirty percent of boys and 40 percent of girls born in the U.S. in the year 2000 have a lifetime risk of being identified with obesity related type 2 diabetes.
- 2Hormonal CausesAdvertisement
Working parents are so busy that they don't have enough time or the energy to make nutritious meals. A lot of times when they come through the door after a hard day's work, they bring in bags of fast food.
One study reported nearly a third of all kids in the U.S. age four to 19 eat take out food every day. These foods can be very high in sugar and fat and come in large sizes. Also, soda pop seems to be consumed more than milk and water. Just a 20-ounce drink a day can make you gain 25 pounds in a year!
What are the causes of obesity in children?
- 2Lack of or Inadequate Physical Activity. Gone are the days when children go out and play all the time. Children nowadays spend a lot of time using their gadgets, just sitting or lying down. They spend a lot of hours in front of their laptops. They also watch TV for hours. Lack of physical activity won't burn the calories taken in so they become overweight or obese.
- 3Too Many Junk Foods and Unhealthy Foods. Foods bought in the fast food chains and restaurants are not healthful. They contain lots of sodium, fats, sugar and calories. If these kinds of foods are taken in frequently, children are at risk. It is best to prepare their food so that you can watch out for their food intake.
- 4Poor Eating Habits. There should be a specific time when to eat. Children should be taught early on the importance of eating on time. Eating a balanced diet at the right time is the best way to attain a normal weight. Eating beyond the normal time may lead to increased food consumption. Parents should eat with their children so that they can be guided on what food to eat.
What conditions are obese children at risk for?
Obese children are at risk for several diseases such as:
- 1Diabetes. Children may develop high sugar levels in their blood. Children who are obese are now at risk of Type 2 Diabetes, which is commonly diagnosed on adults.
How to know if my child is overweight
To know if your child is overweight, you have to compute for his or her Body Mass Index (BMI). Once you get the percentile, you will have to interpret it using the table for children based on the age and gender-specific BMI table or BMI-for-age. To compute the BMI, get the weight of your child in kilograms and height in meters. You will have to divide the weight by the height, which is squared. You can also make use of weight in pounds and height in inches but you will have to multiply the weight in pounds by 703 and divide it by the height in inches, which is squared too.
If the BMI percentile is ranging from the fifth to 85th percentile, he may be considered to have a normal weight. But if it is above the 85th percentile, he may be overweight or obese.
This is just a first gauge to know if your child is overweight or obese. To make sure you get the most accurate assessment, you can take the data with you and check with your pediatrician. He or she can assess if your child is overweight or not and if he is at risk for certain diseases associated with obesity.
What parents can do
- 2Limit soda and sugary snack foods, and offer water or low fat juice drinks.
- 3Bake, broil, or steam food instead of pan frying.
- 4Make smaller portions of food.
- 7Have chores for your children to do to keep them active.
- 8Make sure you set a good example in eating healthy and exercising.
- 9If you try your best to make a regular routine of healthy habits for your family, this will become a way of life to your children and into adulthood.
Shield Your Child from Obesity
The training for a healthy and fit lifestyle should start at home. However, with the proliferation of numerous external or environmental influences, more and more children are getting overweight and obese. Although the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle and obesity will only take a toll when the children become adults, it is necessary to inculcate with them the importance of health and wellness at an early age. When obese or overweight children grow older, they will be more prone to illnesses and complications.
Obesity in children has been highlighted as one of the leading perpetrators of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes during the older years. Psychological implications or consequences of obesity also include low self-esteem, stress and sadness. As parents, it is also your responsibility to ensure that your children will grow up to be healthy adults. Here is a rundown of tips and actions you should take to shield your kids from obesity.
Your kids' eating habits can be the major determinant on whether your kid will grow healthy or will become obese. Foods containing essential nutrients should always be part of their meals. Whether processed or home-cooked, food items that will be served to your kids should be checked for both their nutrient and calorie contents. Pediatricians have always emphasized that children tend to have a natural liking for sweets and dislike for vegetables. As a mother, you should be creative in preparing these dishes. There will always be a way to make nutritious dishes more taste-appealing to kids. You can find several kid-friendly healthy recipes in cookbooks, food magazines and food websites. You do not need to deprive them of their craving for sweets, but their intake of calorie-rich temptations should be controlled. Introduce fruits to them during their sweet cravings. Your dairy products should also be low-fat. Never leave protein out of the menu. Sugar-sweetened beverages should be minimized and should just be a treat, instead of being a staple drink. Instead, train your kids to drink lots of water.
This will not only help them be healthy and fit, but will also teach them numerous life skills, such as socialization, respect and teamwork. As gadgets are gaining control over people's lives in this modern age, kids have also started to resort to a sedentary lifestyle. Bring your kids to regular physical activities. The positive effects of an active lifestyle are not only physical in nature. Being active has also been tagged as an effective morale booster and stress reliever. Likewise, physical activities can also be opportunities for family bonding. You can bring your whole family to the park and do brisk walking. Limit sedentary time in front of the television, computer and other gadgets to two hours or less a day.
- 1Be a model of healthy lifestyle. All your efforts in training your kids to live a healthy life will be futile and in vain if your own lifestyle contradicts what you are teaching them. You should always bear in mind that children learn best by modeling. They tend to emulate and follow what they see in the significant people around them, especially from their parents. Start saying goodbye to your unhealthy vices, such as smoking and drinking. If you want to encourage your kids to get into sports, you should have your own favorite sports too.