Did we ever realize that childhood obesity would be a problem and emerge as an epidemic? Chubby children were rarely seen in the past and every mother desired for that hefty little baby; parents then started focusing on fattening their children but now the fear of the fat has gripped us. We don’t want our babies to be obese and there are ways indeed to prevent obesity in children.
Change in Parental Behavior
Parental behavior affects children’s attitude towards life. With both the parents being busy with work, children are left on their own. Busy parents are likely to provide take-away food from restaurants to their children. And the children get used to packaged foods and beverages that are easily available. Food cooked outside is treated with preservatives to increase shelf life, so these foods are high on calories but low on nutritive value. So, parents need to change their lifestyle to improve the health of their children and that would mean they have to spend quality time with their children or prepare one or two dish at home to provide a balanced diet to their kids. Children imitate parents. Children pick up interest in games and other activities when their parents introduce them to those activities and are with them until children are on their own to practice the same they have learnt.
Intake of Low Fat and High Fiber Food
The market is flooded with ready-to-eat stuff and lower the income of the family, more the time expended at workplaces. And children tend to think that what their parents offer are the best because parents coax their children to eat a particular type of food because of their own habits or that they can only afford that type. So, the choice of the right kind of food lies with the parents and to do that parents will have to go through nutrition-related educational programs.
Schoolbooks and Recreational Facilities
Children are most biased when it comes to trying out a new dish, in other words they are neophobic”. We need our school boards to understand the science and the importance of both nutrition and physical activity. Children’s books should present information related to nutritious diet, which may arouse an interest in eating nutritious food, provided the market also makes nutritious food available to them.
Increase in physical activity
Parks and sidewalks are disappearing and neighborhoods are becoming unsafe day-by-day, forcing parents to keep children at home. Even schools have no playgrounds, as open space has become a rare commodity, children thus end up living a predominantly sedentary life. So there is a need for utilizing whatever recreational opportunities are available and the need for physical instructors arise here. Games that require skills and vigorous activity should be taught under proper guidance.
Spread of Nutrition Educational Programs Through Community Centers
Many parents are not informed about the right food, besides interest in nutrition can be nurtured among parents and children through programs organized at community centers. The Community centers can come up with common recreational facilities catering to children’s needs and can be effective in maintaining the same.
Since nutrition is not the only reason behind obesity while no or minimum physical inactivity being another reason for obesity neighborhoods should be made safe. No children walk to school even if it is at a walking distance. City administrators should ensure that alternative modes of transport should be made available to the public and this would encourage a lot of children cycling to school.
Reduce Watching TV to Less Than Two Hours
TV is one of the media that influences one’s choice and children do spend a lot of time watching TV. So parents should monitor the number of hours their children remain glued to the screen. Advertisements draw children’s attention to junk food. So with lesser exposure to commercial, greed can be controlled.
Change Dietary Pattern
Don’t allow children to eat snacks frequently as children end up eating more contrary to the belief that eating small meals frequently are good for health. Schedule their diet with substantive time gap between the meals so that children get used to eating at a particular time only. This would also restrict them to eat the required quantity.
Create Interest in Nature
Encourage children to appreciate nature and this would make them curious about the natural vegetation. Schools can give courses on gardening so that children would like to grow vegetables on their own. This builds curiosity and ownership. Gardening would lead children to explore more about nature and food products beneficial for their health and community health on the whole.
What are the Problems of Childhood Obesity?
The problems of childhood obesity have a long-term as well as short-term affect. Kids who are obese are more likely to grow to be obese adults. Childhood obesity is the primary cause of pediatric hypertension. Obesity in kids can also lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease.
The extra weight of the body puts a stress on weight-bearing joints of the kids and it can make walking difficult. Most importantly, obesity can lead to low self-esteem in kids. Obese kids are usually teased and this can isolate them from their peer group.
Obesity can affect kids both physically and mentally. Hence, parents should take steps to prevent obesity to keep their kids healthy.
Even Moderate Weight Loss can be Beneficial:
Childhood Obesity rate has tripled in the last 30 years. The age group of 9-17 years is worst affected by Obesity in the country. The Obama Administration is planning to open new grocery stores. Accessibility and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables can help the parents of Obese children a lot.
It is because according to a latest research study, Australian scientists have found out that even moderate decrease in the weight can boost the immune system of the obese people. The excess fat in the body is found to disturb the inherent balance that exists between different immune system cells. As the balance is disturbed, these cells turn hostile. Pro-inflammatory immune cells are harmful cells released by the immune system as this balance is disturbed. They flow along with the blood stream and cause destruction to the body.
If Obese people can loose weight even up to 6 kgs through dieting and other weight loss methods, the presence of these harmful cells can reduce by 80 percent