What is Obesity
Eating more than what is required for the body leads to obesity. Being over weight is one of the life threatening conditions. In recent times, obesity is one of the most common problem in children that is driving parents to desperation. The obesity has become an increased concern to all the parents, doctors and the school authorities. The obesity in children and adolescent poses a great threat to the social relationships, academic performance, and emotional instability. Obesity, weakness the immune system and may reduce the life span of the child. Children are bullied for obese, tend to become depressed and lost. Obese children are prone to ridicules and taunting due to their overweight by other children. Obesity also leads to bullying among the children which may sometimes result in tragic situations.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The body mass index (BMI) is used to measure weight in kilograms to height in meters. The range of BMI varies in children with age and sex. The body mass index is a simple method of measuring the body fat by considering the ratio of weight with height. A high body mass index indicates the high body fatness. It is one of the inexpensive methods to screen for body fat. The commonly used indicator to measure the size of growth pattern of children is the percentile growth charts. For a normal weight the percentile range is between 5th to 85th percentiles. In an obese child the percentile is equal to or greater than the 95th percentile.
Factors that cause obesity
Many factors are responsible for obesity in children and adolescents which includes excessive food intake, genetic factors, eating junk food, hormonal problems, family eating patterns, medical problems, physical inactivity, environmental and emotional disturbances. Basal metabolic rate is also considered to be a cause for obesity. Obese children have lower metabolic rates. Fast food consumption is another contributor for obesity. Working parent opt for fast foods due to lack of time for cooking. Fast foods contain lower nutritional value and high calories of weight gaining substances. The obese children tend to be lazy and show little interest in losing weight. Self motivation lacks in these obese children. The present modern lifestyle has a major role in making the children obese. The packaged food, decreased physical activity, watching television and increased use of technology contributes to weight gain in children. Stress and depression can make the child to indulge in overeating.
Effects of obesity in children
Obesity represents a major concern for the health professionals which predicts future health hazard s. Obesity in childhood has harmful effects on the body. Major diseases such as heart issues, hypertension, depression, diabetes, muscular and skeletal problems, and gynecological disorders arise due to obesity. Obesity leads to problems such as breathing difficulties, sleep disturbances, gallstones liver diseases ,the children also suffer from low self esteem, socio-physical and emotional disturbances. If the children are overweight they may also become obese adults. Children may also experience psychological and behavioral problems. Obesity in adulthood is dangerous and life threatening.
What parents can do to help obese children
The child's well-being and happiness lies with the parents' cooperation, support and constant help to children to become normal and lead a healthy life. As parents adhering to healthy life style and being an example will make the child to follow them. It motivates them towards positive approach in weight reducing process. Instill in children the consequences of being obese and how to deal with it to stay fit.
A child may not be obese by birth. Most of the time it is the nurturing and urge of the mother that makes a child obese. Many new mothers feed the baby even though he does not need to be. I have seen some mothers feeding the baby every one hour something or the other. And once the child gets habituated to tasty and junk food, the situation goes from bad to worse. So the mothers should ensure diet control right from the beginning. Even doctors would advise that the bone density of the child should be good and it is not about being chubby or looking fat. So this notion has to be removed from the mother's mind.
The author has mentioned the reasons for obesity and we should work on them. One important thing is that we should not mock a kid as we usually do. This would create an inferiority complex in the mind of a kid that may lead to a sort of depression which may be more harmful to a kid than his or her obesity. What we can do is to check his or her lifestyle which is the major contributor. If its due to metabolism then we can take the help of a pediatrician or dietician so that it can be controlled. In today's world when most of us are inclined to junk food, we should minimize eating them as they play a major role in making us obese.
I was told by the family physician that consuming fruits and nuts in the morning and sprouts in the evening would go a long way to check the obese problem in children and elders. When the child has the feeling of belly full, he won't seek further food and would be interested in playing.