What Steps Can We Follow to Prevent Obesity in Our Children?
Childhood obesity is associated with various health effects. Obese children and adolescents can suffer immediate effects on their health and are at risk of health problems related to weight in adulthood.
Some effects of childhood and adolescent overweight are psychosocial. Obese children and adolescents are subject to early and systematic social discrimination. The psychological stress of social stigmatization can lead to low self-esteem which can hamper academic and social functioning and persist into adulthood.
Risks of cardiovascular diseases
It has been discovered that obese children and adolescents have risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and abnormal tolerance to glucose. In a population sample of people from 5 to 17 years of age, almost 60% of overweight children had at least one CVD risk factor, and 25% of overweight children had two or more CVD risk factors.
Additional health risks
Other less common conditions associated with weight gain include asthma, hepatic steatosis, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes.
- Asthma is a disease of the lungs in which the airways become blocked or narrowed causing difficulty in breathing. Studies have identified an association between childhood overweight and asthma.
- Hepatic steatosis is fatty degeneration of the liver caused by a high concentration of liver enzymes. When losing weight the liver enzymes normalized.
- Sleep apnea is a less common complication of overweight in children and adolescents. It is a respiratory disorder that occurs during sleep and is defined as an interruption of breathing during sleep lasting at least 10 seconds. Sleep apnea is characterized by strong snoring and difficult breathing. During sleep apnea, oxygen levels in the blood can drop drastically. One study has estimated that sleep apnea occurs in approximately 7% of overweight children.
- More and more cases of type 2 diabetes are reported in overweight children and adolescents. While diabetes and glucose intolerance, a precursor to diabetes, are common health effects of obesity in adults, type 2 diabetes has only emerged as a health problem in children and adolescents in years Recent The onset of diabetes in childhood or adolescence can lead to advanced complications such as cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.
In addition, studies have shown that obese children and adolescents are more prone to obesity in adulthood.
What can I do as a parent or legal guardian to help prevent overweight in my children?
To help your child maintain a healthy weight, you need to balance the calories your child eats with food and beverages and the calories you use when doing physical activity and in your normal growth process.
Remember that for obese and overweight children and adolescents, the goal is to reduce the rate of weight gain, but at the same time allow normal growth and development. Children and adolescents MUST NOT start diets to lose weight without consulting a health care provider.
How to balance calories: help children adopt healthy eating habits
One way to balance calories is to eat foods that provide adequate nutrition and an adequate amount of calories. You can help children learn to know, what they eat by adopting healthy eating habits, preparing healthier versions of their favorite dishes and reducing high-calorie temptations.
Encourage healthy eating habits.
Eating healthy has no secret. To help your children and family adopt healthy eating habits:
- Offer a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole products.
- Include milk and low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
- Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans to eat protein.
- Serve portions of reasonable size.
- Encourage your family to drink a lot of water.
- Limit drinks sweetened with sugar.
- Limit the consumption of sugar and saturated fats.
Remember that small changes on a daily basis can create the recipe for success!