Childhood Obesity – Causes and Prevention

Simply put, childhood obesity is when one has an excess amount of body fat. This condition leads to various health problems including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, respiratory problems and cardio-vascular disease. Don’t think these conditions will affect your children in the far off future.

Plump reddish cheeks and the fat fingers of babies and toddlers are sure to charm any one; certainly, nobody wants to have a bony baby. At a child’s baby stage, being plump is all right, but when a child keeps adding more weight than is proportionate to his height, it may be time to worry about obesity. After all, not all kids lose their “baby fat” automatically.

Simply put, childhood obesity is when one has an excess amount of body fat. This condition leads to various health problems including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, respiratory problems and cardio-vascular disease. Don’t think these conditions will affect your children in the far off future. My cute little cousin kept getting fatter until he became obese. Despite two heart attacks, his diet and eating habits did not change. He died at 15. This type of incident is becoming more common as childhood obesity becomes more common.

Childhood obesity not only leads to increased risk of physical problems and adult obesity, but also has psychological consequences. Obese children are subject to a lot of teasing and can be socially isolated by their peers. This is detrimental to their self-concept and can lead to other problems.childhood obesity - causes and prevention

How to prevent childhood obesity

The best thing to do is to help a child develop good eating habits from the onset. It has been found that a child’s eating habits is directly affected by his emotional state and his relationship with his parents. Parents should make the time to be really involved in helping their children make good decisions even during the toddler years.

The safest diet includes plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

Even snacks must be nutritionally dense. Teach that one has to learn to eat what is good for the body, not just what tastes good, and that some things taste good but are really bad for the body. Children like to have things explained to them, and you’ll be surprised at how much they understand.

Encourage them to eat less of high fat and high sugar- without totally banning fatty or sugary food. Being too strict with soft drinks, cakes, cookies, candy, butter, margarine, and potato chips can increase the attraction of these items. It’s better not to buy these products so you don’t have them at home. Then be sure to have healthier substitutes like fresh juices, fruit, baked chips, whole grain crackers, and crunchy vegetables.

Some parents inadvertently teach their kids the wrong ideas about food. For example, food can be used as a bribe or reward like “I’ll give you a granola bar if you clean your room.” Or they may have the bad habit of eating when they have nothing to do. All this can lead to childhood obesity.

The parents’ own habits are a big factor. You may be sedentary or spend many hours watching TV. This passive recreation is a major influence on a child’s eating habits. TV commercials often encourage children to eat unhealthy foods while watching TV. That means the child will end up eating more food than his body requires.

His intake of food will not be balanced by output because he is spending many hours inactive sitting in front of the TV. Encourage your children to spend more time in outdoor activity such as playing ball games or riding bicycles. The more active a child is, the less likely he is to become obese. I think this is a better tactic than subjecting him to a strict diet. And besides, it is also great for the parents to take breaks from work and spend quality time with their children. Children may only listen to part of what you tell them, but they often do what you do. Being a good example is the best way to help children learn the proper attitude and direction in nutrition and bodily maintenance.

Remember that kids need to grow. Don’t restrict diet so much that it will be deficient in necessary nutrients or energy for proper growth and development. So do not impose your low fat diet on your kids!

If you suspect your child is obese have him see a doctor to measure his body mass index (BMI). Should this show he has more fat than necessary, get professional help to safely get him back to his normal weight.

Be supportive and help your kids have a realistic expectation of their bodies and themselves. You don’t want them to end up on the other end of the spectrum with anorexia nervosa!

Being too strict with soft drinks, cakes, cookies, candy, butter, margarine, and potato chips can increase the attraction of these items.

What you have in your mind?