- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Children Obesity and Importance of Healthy Lifestyle
Today fitness is the mantra to become successful in one’s life and parents are more concerned about their children’s well being as the life our children lead these days is completely different from what we did twenty years back. Back then our food habits were different and we had lot of outdoor activities. However, the scenario has changed drastically and we as parents need to be aware of the present day lifestyle hazards. Obesity in children is one such anathema which makes the child regressive in every walk of life. In layman’s term, a person who has excess amount of body fat is called obese. Though, obesity and being over-weight is considered as the same, they are different conditions. An over- weight child’s weight is in the upper range of the children of his age and height. His weight gain may be the result of extra bone, muscle, water or too much of fat. On the other hand, experts follow the body mass index (BMI), which is modified for pubertal stage, gender and age, to measure obesity. Thus, if the child’s body weight is at least 20% higher than the healthy weight range for a child of that height, or body fat is 25% higher in boys and 32% higher in girls, that child will be considered as obese
When a child takes more food than his body needs, the extra calories are stored in fat cells for future use but if he keeps on eating more than his need for normal growth and activity and the process continues over time, he develops obesity. Usually, a child responds to the signals of hunger and fullness. However, the changing scenario in life style and food choices are the two main causes of the rise of obesity among children.
The surrounding environment is another catalyst in this regard. The child is surrounded by many objects which lead to over-eating without much of physical activity. Sometimes TV commercials and other screen ads can be the cause of unhealthy food choices. In many cases, if the child is addicted to activities such as watching television, gaming, texting, playing on the computer and if these activities have replaced healthy physical exercises, the child will much likely end up with gaining excess weight. The people surrounding the child also play a vital role in shaping the child’s diet and exercise habits. The child may get food as reward or as an object of comfort. This kind of practice can lead to over-eating.
Sometimes medical conditions or genetics can also be the cause of his increasing weight. Certain medication such as steroid and anti-seizure are also the cause of the child’s increasing appetite. In some cases, hormone disorder or low thyroid function also enhances his appetite resulting in obesity. Whatever may be the cause obesity should be prevented from the very beginning as it would have a very negative impact on a child’s day to day life.
As a parent your very first move should be consulting a doctor. The doctor will supervise you in setting the goals for weight- loss. As the child is going to follow the foot-steps of rest of the family, there must be a change in the family routine. This will help the child in inculcating a healthy life style.
Avoid teasing or taunting the child if he is not motivated in the process of weight loss. It may lower the motivation level further. Never use food as an object to reward or punishment the child.
Do not force the child to eat all the food on his plate. Rather, they must be taught to stop eating when they are full. Moreover, the focus should always be a balance diet. In other words the child should get right type and amount of food to keep him healthy. You must know the right portion for your child’s age and feed him accordingly so that the child gets the required amount of nutrition without over-eating.
As parent you must control your own habit of indulging in junk food. Rather, shop for healthy food and try to habituate yourself and your child to take those foods. Do not keep any junk food such as chips, ice-cream, pastries and cakes at home. Also, the child must avoid soda and other sport drinks.
Try to create an environment where the child gets chance to engage in healthy physical exercises. Those activities which make the child breathe more deeply than when he is resting and makes the heart beat faster, is most effective to keep him fit. 60 minutes of these activities is more than enough for him. If the child is reluctant to participate in such activities, try to encourage him. Finally, he must not watch TV more than 2 hours a day. With your care and attention your child will lead a healthy life by following a healthy lifestyle.