Childhood obesity is of pandemic proportions currently and contributes to numerous significant health challenges. The extreme rise of children fighting obesity is mind-boggling as well as discouraging. This is a very serious medical situation which is known to affect a significant proportion of children and teenagers.
All these factors should be recognized by parents in order to support their kids. Deeply ingrained habits are formed in the childhood years, so by helping to implement good, healthy habits, you are passing to your children a healthier legacy, and may very well help prolong their lives by many years.
What is childhood obesity?
In basic terms, this medical condition occurs when children are significantly over their normal weight. Childhood obesity has turned out to be a major reason why kids are struggling from specific diseases that are earlier, only were restricted to adults. The additional weight accumulated by youngsters in their early years increases their risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Also, as the child increases in weight, they tend to lose self-confidence and self-esteem, as they are usually taunted for their large size.
It is important to have an understanding of the signs and symptoms of this medical condition. Certain kids tend to have larger body frames as compared to others. Because of this; these children can’t be classified as obese, on that basis alone. The body fat carried by a child keeps changing throughout the different phases of growth cycles.
Simply by assessing the body weight of a child, it is not likely a parent can accurately tell if that child is battling with a true body fat issue or not. It is generally advised for parents to discuss any body fat concerns with your child’s physician. He or she will usually investigate further, using the Body Mass Index orBMI.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has offered the below guidelines:
- BMI-for-age between 85th and 94th percentiles means overweight
- BMI-for-age 95th percentile and above means obese
Doctors attribute hereditary, as well as hormonal reasons resulting in some childhood obesity cases. Nevertheless, apart from this explanation, overeating by children is one of the key components and a lack of physical activity leading to obesity.
Various health conditions are connected to childhood obesity such as the onset of Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, sleep problems, breathing challenges such as asthma, as well as early puberty or menstruation. Also, such kids may possibly suffer from low self-esteem as well as depressive disorders which can affect them in their future years as well. They may also find themselves the target of bullying, more so than other children.
Tips to Implement to Help Support Children Fighting Obesity
Here are some tips to help children fighting obesity to gain a healthier lifestyle.
- Follow any advice given by your healthcare provider.
- Try to incorporate a more active lifestyle and healthier eating for the entire family, as opposed to singling the child out.
- Try to build as much fun into the process as possible, and engage your child as an active participant in many of the healthier options.
- Get your kids involved in sports, even if it’s not necessarily organized sports teams. Ride bikes together, in summer lots of swimming time, any activities that will encourage movement and are fun.
- Teach your kids and their friends backyard games as another source of physical play, depending on their ages. Consider playing with them and showing them the ones you remember from your childhood as well. This will also help build fun, lifetime memories.
- Try to eliminate soda pop, fruit juice, and kool-aid drinks. It’s amazing how many hundreds of calories per day can easily be consumed in this area alone. Calories that don’t provide any nutrition, but additional weight. Substitute fresh water or milk. See if you can get them to drink homemade lemonade with water, lemon juice and stevia. Instead of fruit juice, have them eat the fruit whole with a big glass of water. The fiber will add a sense of fullness and satiety for them.
- Encourage them to drink a big glass of water before every meal and snack to help avoid over-eating. Teach correct portion sizes. In the U.S. especially, we’ve gotten accustomed to sizes that are 3 and 4 times what a true serving is.
- Every time out shopping and running errands with the child, park as far away from the store as possible to increase the amount of walking. An added bonus, is you will probably drop a few pounds in the process of helping your child as well.
- Make meal prep time quality time with the kids, teach them to cook healthy foods and let them assist. Great creative and research healthy alternatives for their favorite foods, for instance instead of French fries, make homemade, baked sweet potato fries.
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As you can incorporate these and other strategies into your entire family’s lifestyle change, you will most likely find the entire family getting healthier. Emotional bonding deepens as more time is spent together in fun, engaging ways.
Until next time,
Reference: Mayo Clinic