Obesity is a common problem among all age groups, but the statistics show that children aged 6-11 are in the high-risk group. In fact, one in every five children is obese. These children are at more risk to develop type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and cardiovascular diseases.
Effects of Childhood Obesity:
Apart from causing various negative health effects, obesity in children also causes the following social and emotional effects.
- The research studies proved that obesity and depression are conversely proportional.
- Obesity among children causes social stigma that makes them withdraw from socializing with their peers.
- They develop a poor self-image about themselves and feel that they are not being liked at all.
- As society views obesity as a negative symptom, obese children are not allowed to interact freely with other children.
Causes of Childhood Obesity
Imbalance Between Intake and Output
The main cause for obesity in children is lack of proper balance between what they take in and what they let out. Nowadays, most children are excessively consuming fast foods and go for unhealthy food choices. And, more importantly they are not expending their calorie intake by doing physical activity and playing sports and games. Instead they are sitting in front of their computer or television.
In most of the cases of childhood obesity it is found that the parents are the direct causes. The parents go for unhealthy food choices and won’t do any physical activity. And, the same attitude develops in their children.
Nowadays, mothers are encouraging their kids to eat more than what they should. They feel that their children should gain more weight than what is right for their age. They want them to look chubby, as they think being plump means healthy and cute. These negligent mothers leave negative impacts on their children’s health.
Heredity is also one major cause for childhood obesity. Children born to obese parents are found to have more chances of being obese compared to those born to normal parents.
Prevention of Childhood Obesity
Avoid Soft Drinks from The Diet
Physicians and nutritionists advise to avoid giving your child carbonated soft drinks, as these don’t have any nutritional value in them. Instead give your child healthier alternatives like low-fat milk, water or fruit juices made from the real fruit.
Restrict Fast Food
Make sure your child is not taking fast food items like hamburgers, chips, fried chicken, milkshakes and other fattening products. If your child is already addicted to them, clearly explain him the negative effects of fast foods and make him not opt them more. Good news is – fast food restaurants are hearing the public opinion and providing some healthy foods in their restaurants. You can make your child take them instead.
Limit the Time Spent in front of Television and Computers
Health researchers suggest no television at all for children aged less than two years and not more than two hours of viewing for children aged more than two years. Most importantly it’s unhealthy to provide your child a separate television or computer in his room. More time spent on television and computer playing video games or computer games means less time spent on healthy physical activities.
Promote physical activity
Exercise is the best way to expend your calories, and it is most advised for obese children. All parents should make sure their children have enough exercise daily. Parents of obese children should especially take more care in this regard. The schools should also make sports and games activities mandatory for the children. Exercise not only helps prevent obesity, it also controls obesity.
– Healthy habits prevent and control all sorts of problems in children, especially childhood obesity. And, it is the responsibility of all parents and society as a whole to make children adopt healthy habits.
Childhood Obesity is Rising in Rural America:
According to a report published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one in every two kids in one of the Louisiana community is obese or overweight. The national goal is to bring down childhood obesity to 5 percent by 2010. But according a finding carried out by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the rate remains at 16.9 percent.
Researcher Stephanie Broyles, Assistant professor and epidemiologist, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge found out that children in the rural areas of America are at more risk for obesity and overweight. Her study was based on the observations made on the children belonging to the semi-rural town of Bogalus. Obesity rate is unusually high in this town where access to fresh fruits, vegetables and whole wheat bread is very low. Researcher Broyles believes that there are several other rural towns like Bogalus which high rate of childhood obesity.