Childhood Obesity & Its Prevention

Childhood obesity is a medical condition where a child is above the normal weight for his or her age and height. It has negative effects on overall health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. Becoming overweight at an early age puts them at a risk of attaining chronic diseases like heart diseases and diabetes.

It is very important to keep children, their diet and physical activities in check throughout. Insufficient attention may lead to such problems and this in turn can cause them to have low self-esteem, stress, sadness etc. We must know the various health risks involved in overweight or obese children in order to give them a boost and help them become more active, energetic and healthy.

The most common causes of obesity among children include-

  • Genetic factors

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Unhealthy eating patterns

  • Medical/ hormonal conditions

Children who are obese are more likely to have-

  1. High blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases

  2. Increased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

  3. Breathing problems, such as sleep apnoea, and asthma

  4. Bone & Joint problems

  5. Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn)

  6. Skin conditions like heat rash, fungal infections, acne

Obesity comes with various risks, be it physical or mental. Some emotional risks involved in children with obesity include:

  • Social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem

  • Low self esteem and bullying

  • Behaviour and learning problems

  • Obesity in children leads to anxiety and poor social skills.

  • It may cause overweight children to socially withdraw and may even affect their learning.

  • Depression: Low esteem can cause feeling of hopelessness to creep in and children might go into depression and become emotionally bland.

How can you prevent and help children who are obese/overweight?

It gets hard on parents to witness health problems in their children at such tender ages. Therefore, it is upon them to take measures proactively at an early stage to prevent the child from becoming inactive and thus overweight.

  • One must always encourage physical activity and outdoor games rather than indoor games.

  • Emphasize on healthy eating habit- Prefer low calories food, vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy foods, and whole grains.

  • Lead by example- Family's participation in inculcating healthy eating habits and activities are crucial as children learn what they see.

  • Plan family activities that involve outdoor games, picnics, sports, exercises etc.

  • Be sensitive to the child’s needs and comfort them emotionally and mentally.

Whatever the case be, it is very important to be the change you want to see in your child. Start getting active, eating healthy and housing a developmental attitude that will definitely be inculcated in the child. Bring colorful fruits, vegetables and fill up your pantry. Be active with your child and make them have fun. It is ultimately your end goal to see your family healthy and happy, so go out and bring home the positivity!


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