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Obesity in Children
Alarming rise in children obesity
While many find a slightly overweight child cute, obesity is a real concern among the world's children population. Obesity among children is fast becoming a major public concern everywhere. Statistics reveal that 16% of the children and adolescent population in the US are obese while their European counterpart comes a close second at 20%.
Obesity is not just a rising concern in developed countries as other countries are following suit. In fact, in Asia, 1 out of 10 children is considered obese according to an FNRI report. In Egypt, more and more children are becoming overweight. With these statistics, it is high time that parents all over the world do something to curb this disturbing and dangerous trend.
A simple way to find out
To find out if your child is overweight, obtain his BMI (Body Mass Index), a measure of a person’s weight based on his height and weight. To get a child’s BMI, divide weight (in kilograms) by height (in meters) squared. If a child has a BMI of 25 to 29.9, he is considered overweight while those with a BMI of 30 and up is already obese.
The excess body fat often would result to a child having sleep apnea, asthma, gallstones, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ankle sprains, flat feet, hypertension, and even diabetes (type 2).
Candidate for a Host of Debilitating Diseases
More often, children with some form of obesity before reaching the age of 8 years old are at risk for severe obesity in adulthood. They also have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a deadly combination of medical conditions that makes them at risk for a number of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Its presence is linked with a host of serious health problems including hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea, varieties of cancer (e.g. liver cancer, colon cancer, etc.) and type 2 diabetes.
Parents Must Act NOW
Obesity and its adverse consequences may still be prevented if parents take an active role in deciding what their children eat. Parents still decide what goes into the pantry or the fridge. There must be a conscious effort to inculcate healthy eating habits while they are still young. Introduce tried and tested food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and healthy meats instead of processed food.
Even when your children are already teenagers, it is never too late to modify your lifestyle. Introduce changes in the type of food being consumed at home by exposing them to more fruits and vegetables in the table. Say not to food with high fat and salt content. and no to food with saturated fat. Prepare home-cooked meals or healthy sandwiches for their lunchboxes instead of relying on calorie-laden cafeteria food.
Fighting Children Obesity
Health is wealth, and it something that money can buy when you don’t have it. Parents strive to be the best by providing everything for their children, but most may have missed out on one important thing that is necessary for their future health.
Set a good example to your children and walk the talk. It’s hard to teach them one thing when they see you doing another. Take the lead and show them that eating healthy is the best option and physical activity is the best way to maintain a healthy living. Knowing these simple ways to prevent or fight off obesity will put you in a much better position to guide your child in taking the healthier path and put an end to the deadly trend.
Lifestyle Change is Important
Lead a physically-active lifestyle
In the age of internet, the television, PSP’s, X-Box, and other video games, children more often than not while their time away sitting on couches and chairs making them the perfect candidates for the race to obesity. A child sitting in front of the television for more than 2 hours per day suffers a higher risk of developing fat-related diseases compared to those who spend less than 2 hours.
Engage your child in some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes each time, three to four times a week. How about shooting hoops in your backyard court, biking, skating, swimming, or even dancing will do. A dose of regular physical activity each day will go a long way to prevent obesity. During summer, a number of summer camps host a variety of fun-filled sports activities.
Being physically active will not only enhance their fitness but could well improved psychological and academic performance.