Should you worry about your child being overweight? 

It’s common in Indian culture, especially the old generation, to call slim and lean weak while chubby and fat healthy. Few things are prettier for a parent than your full-cheeked baby or your toddler’s chubby knees. However, that lovely baby fat may become a health risk for kids growing up. 

Even in developed nations today, nearly one in every four children is overweight or obese. Children who gain weight are more likely to acquire significant health issues such as Diabetes, Asthma, and Heart diseases like Hypertension etc. In addition, childhood obesity has a negative emotional impact. Overweight children frequently struggle to keep up with their classmates and participate less in sports and activities. Other children may mock and exclude them, which can lead to low self-esteem, a negative body image, and sometimes even result in a state of depression.

Is your child overweight? 

Children develop at various rates and different periods, making it difficult to determine whether or not a child is overweight. Body mass index (BMI) calculates a child’s body fat percentage based on height and weight data. However, while BMI is typically a good indicator, it is NOT a precise measure of body fat and can even be misleading when children are overgrowing.

If your kid has a high BMI for their age, your doctor may need further exams and screenings to identify if excess fat is a concern.

Causes of childhood obesity and weight problems

Understanding why children grow overweight is a vital step toward breaking the pattern. Most childhood weight issues result from overeating and lack of physical exercise. Children require adequate nutrition to ensure healthy growth and development. However, if they consume more calories than they burn throughout the day, they may gain weight.

Some common causes of childhood weight issues include:

  • Families with busy schedules eat out more and cook less at home
  • The availability of cheap, high-calorie fast foods
  • Increased meal portions in restaurants and even at home
  • Kids consume massive quantities of sugar in sweetened beverages concealed in a wide range of foods
  • Spends more time on computers, TV, and video games rather than playing outside
  • Schools scaling back or eliminating their physical education programmes

Health issues brought on by obesity.

Most of the health issues related to obesity will become evident in adulthood. Children frequently show early symptoms of these future concerns.

Obese children may face the following health issues:

  • While type 2 diabetes is usually observed in adults, it is increasingly being diagnosed in children
  • Bulimia and binge eating are forms of eating disorders.
  • Orthopaedic problems – issues with the structure of the foot.
  • Liver issues, such as the fatty liver.
  • Respiratory conditions that induce breathlessness when exercising include constricted airways and chest wall restrictions.
  • Insomnia – a disorder that makes it difficult to breathe while you’re asleep. Additionally, it results in snoring, frequent waking, and poor sleep. People get exhausted from it, making it harder to focus during the day.
  • Cardiomyopathy – a condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively

How can obesity be prevented?

If you notice your children struggling with weight concerns, you must assist them. Early detection of childhood obesity can spare them from various health problems in the future. In addition, it is critical to assure them they are not helpless or alone in their battle.

  • Keep chewing gum away from your child. The majority of chewing gum includes a lot of sugar. So first, could you check to see whether your child tends to chew gum? Even if they are, minimise the usage gradually.

  • Cultivate a passion for physical activity Playing video games at home with your child won’t benefit them. Playing outside and improving the child’s metabolic rate will help lower the risk of obesity. Blood flow in the body increases with exercise, strengthening the immune system and body. Reduce your children’s television time and encourage them to engage in healthy physical activities.

  • Make a nutritious diet for your child. Develop healthy eating habits in kids instead of teaching them to regularly consume artificially sweetened foods like chocolate, candy, and fizzy beverages. Consuming sugar is necessary for the body. Therefore, you shouldn’t entirely avoid it. Instead, consider getting the required sugar from fruits such as bananas, cherries, mangos, pomegranates, yoghurt, legumes, and sugar cane. Raw sugar contains additional vital elements that support various bodily processes and immunity formation.

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