In past times obesity in adults was the concern for people, but nowadays child obesity is also severe medical problem emerging in our society. It usually occurs when a child is well above his or her normal weight for his or her age and height.
Here we have discussed some common causes that lead to childhood obesity. Parents are advised to read and try to avoid or minimize.
Child obesity is rising widespread medical problem in the United States. It almost affects 30% of children in the country and raises great concern in the parents. Now it is a common chronic disease of childhood.
This problem has created some other medical problems in children like diabetes, high cholesterol level, blood pressure, bone problem, sleep apnea, abnormal liver enzymes, asthma, headache, skin condition like heat rash, acne, and fungal infection.
There are some psychological effects like low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression.
Child obesity can be reduced dramatically by improving diet and exercise habits in the whole family. You can protect your children from the problem through treatment and prevention in early life stages. It will help your child not to face this problem in future.
Measuring Child Obesity
BMI (BioMass Index) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meter, and this BMI can’t work to find child obesity. For children and teens, BMI is age and gender specific and is termed as BMI-for-age. We use BMI-for-age percentiles to find obesity in the child. First, you calculate BMI and then plot on the graph of BMI-for-age percentile to identify the weight status of the child. Keep in mind that this kind of way can be seen as a tool only and your doctor can best determine weight status in the child.
Use Table-1.1 and 1.2: To plot BMI-for-age percentile, you must find BMI for your child. After calculating BMI, find the age of the child on the bottom of BMI-for-age percentile chart and see to the left to locate their BMI.
Use Table-2: Then see in Table-2 to find out whether your child is underweight, overweight or obese.
Use the below given two tables and see whether your child is underweight, overweight or obese.
Table 1.1 – BMI chart for girls
Table 1.2 – BMI chart for girls
Table 2 –
Most of the parents don’t know that their children have the issue even they are already overweight. According to one survey, most parents think that their kids are of average weight, but all those same children are classified as overweight.
During the visit of your child to a pediatrician, the doctor will track his/her growth through height and weight.
How Do You Know That Your Child is Overweight?
The best individual to figure out if or not your child is overweight is your kid’s specialist. In figuring out if or not your kid is overweight, the specialist will quantify your youngster’s weight and height and calculate his BMI (BioMass Index) to compare this worth with standard qualities. The specialist will also consider your kid’s age and development patterns.
Now we discuss some contributing factors to childhood obesity.
Lack Of Physical Activity
Nowadays due to so many gadgets like computers, television, iPad and many others, our children are very busy in watching screens and don’t find enough time to go out for a workout. Moreover, our schools lack proper education about physical activity. So such inactive lifestyle often lead to childhood obesity and so many related diseases.
The environment of your society has a significant role in shaping anything. It helps in developing the habits and perception of our children and adolescents. Most of the time we see commercials on television of foods that inculcate in our children the habit of eating more and more varied foods. Moreover, billboards along the roadside have advertisements of fast foods on them.
Nowadays people often go outside their homes and use restaurants and cafeteria for eating, and such places provide foods that are high in calories and in most of the time such foods are not of high quality. Sometimes children go to various events like sports events, and they eat various foods that are high in calories.
Some foods and beverages like soda, bottled sweet tea, diet soda, whole milk, soy milk, coffee with cream, espresso coffee with whole milk, pasta, peanut butter, chocolate nut spread, cheese, avocados, oily fish are full of calories that must be consumed in lower amount or may be entirely avoided in life. You should also avoid sports drink that is another factor.
Remember if your child opens refrigerator or kitchen cabinet and is welcomed by foods that are high in calories like candy, chips, microwave pizza and other similar foods, then such kids will be more likely to develop the problem of obesity. If you keep foods that are low in calories in the reaching environment of kids, then he will more probably develop robust health.
In most of the time, children are from lower-income family, so they don’t have enough money to take part in extracurricular activities. That results in decreased physical activity. Moreover, homes who try to pay bills and make a living in most of the time choose fast foods because they are readily available and such foods are higher in calories, fat, and sugar. Because they don’t find enough resources to find healthy foods. Kids in poor countries can’t play outdoor games because here comes the issue of safety.
Education level also matters to a great extent. Parents with little or no education don’t find enough information regarding proper nutrition and healthy food choices. This makes it difficult for parents to inculcate in their children the habit of eating appropriate foods.
Children who born to an overweight family are more likely to face the problem of childhood obesity. Such children are more prone to develop the problem of obesity if the high-calorie foods are readily available and no physical activity is encouraged.
Remember only genes do not dictate that a child will obese, but learned behaviors from parents also have hands in the problem.
According to a study if a child of age two doesn’t sleep enough (recommended is 13 hours per 24 hours), then such child will be obese when he reaches at age 7.
What Should Parents Do?
Remember parents must be supportive enough towards their obese children because when the children feel that their parents are with them, they start feeling good about themselves. Always allow your children to share their concern regarding weight with you.
Parents shouldn’t live aloof from obese children, but instead, they should concentrate on their weight, diet and physical activity. Parents should involve the whole family in doing physical activity on a regular basis.
All parents and guardians should be caring about the weight status of their children. If a child is overweight or in a position of healthy weight, then parents should take some practical measures. If in the initial stages you keep things on the right track then it would be better because at older ages it is difficult to teach healthy habits in children.
Here we have written some points to be noted:
- Limit television and other screen time less than 2 hours
- Try to eat the meal together with family as often as possible
- Include vegetables and fruits in your meal
- Do not give your child a single chance to eat sweetened or sugared stuff
- Do not eat outside homes, particularly at restaurants
- Find activities for your child that he or she likes
- Provide appropriate portion based on age because your kids do not need as much as you need to intake
Always show you, kid, to doctor at least once a year. During this visit, the doctor will measure the height and weight of your child and find the BMI of your child. An elevation of your child BMI or his/her percentile rank over a single year is a symptom of the fact that your child is at risk of getting overweight.
Parents are advised to inculcate in their children the habit of taking exercise because by doing exercise they can maintain an average weight. Moreover by taking exercise only 30 minutes per 24 hours will make them remain active throughout the day. Active kids are more like to grow as fit adults.
In diet, parents should avoid sweetened foods and should demotivate their kids by eating sweetened foods.
We hope that our personalized health recommendations will help you stay away from medical problems. Moreover, we stress you not to substitute the information on this site for doctor’s advice or any medical therapy.