Childhood obesity has reached pandemic status in the entire world. In India, approximately 30 million people are obese and the number is increasing at alarming rate. So is increasing the rate of childhood obesity in India and needs proper attention to help you battle the ailment in a more precise way. This illness has become so common among small children that, now it has turned into a significant concern for the doctors and child specialists.
In the young, psychological and behavioural factors manifesting as unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary behaviour are probably the most important determinants of obesity. The potential role of genetic programming in the rising prevalence of childhood obesity epidemic is also being increasingly accepted.
Causes of childhood obesity.
Ideally there are following factors of childhood obesity:
1. Genetic, antenatal and postnatal factors
Child of an obese parent may be obese as obesity may tend to run in the family.
2. Dietary habits
Simply speaking, it’s the imbalance in the eating habits ranging from overfeeding in early days of a kid, consumption of junk food and eating without hunger.
3. Physical inactivity/sedentary activity
Physical inactivity trends have been increasing, not just in adults but also among children and adolescents mainly due to the switch to sedentary activities such as watching television and playing computer games.
4. Medical Conditions, Medications and Stress
There are some medical conditions like hormone imbalance which cause obesity. Then there are some medications which cause overweight. It has also been noticed that stress which may be caused due to pressure of exams, family problems, or any other issues can also cause obesity in children.
CONSEQUENCES OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY
Following are several consequences of childhood obesity:
1. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Obesity and body fat patterning are important determinants of insulin resistance in children. In the natural history of diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance precede abnormal glucose. There is growing evidence that the prevalence of glucose intolerance in childhood and adolescents is increasing globally.
2. Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Obesity significantly contributes to morbidity and mortality from CVD. Earlier studies have shown that CVD processes begin early in childhood and are influenced by genetic factors as well as other potentially modifiable risk factors including obesity
3. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
There is evidence to demonstrate that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with obesity and is highly prevalent in children and adolescents.
4. Psychosocial problems
Numerous psychosocial problems have been shown to be strongly associated with obesity in children and adolescents. These include depression, poor self-image, and adjustment difficulties in both the home and social environment (including school).
How to prevent obesity in children?
1. Healthy lifestyle
The simplest of tips to fight childhood obesity is to lead a happy and healthy life. More often it is seen due to overwork pressure, mental anxieties, family problems; a child starts suffering from stress and may start suffering from insomnia and mood swings. A stress-free yet disciplined life of parents inculcates the same in children. Unwanted pressure and expectation of parents wanting their child to score highest in exams or rank first in any extra-curricular activities, every time, stresses a child and may make him prone to obesity.
2. Food habits
A vital parenting advice for parents is to have strict food rule in their house. Make your child eat right food that’s rich in fibre, fruits and vegetables. A balanced-diet is always recommended. Cut out the oil portion and replace them with baked alternatives instead of spicy stuffs. Indulge your child into healthy diet plan like avoiding pre-prepared food, food with added sugar and junk food. Do not force feed your child by asking him clean the plate always or by offering him desserts as a reward for completing his meals? Remember, this way you are inviting childhood obesity.
3. Regular exercise
One of the best tips to cure obesity is by doing exercise on a regular basis. Any sort of physical activity, walking, cycling, jogging or even using the stairs or washing the floor, is also one kind of exercise, the motive is to burn your fat. One of the most beneficial parenting tips includes finding fun alternatives such as dancing or swimming or hiking, etc. to make it a part of life. By regularly exercising children will burn the extra calories in their bodies. As parents, you should promote and facilitate physical activities, if required, be a participant with your child.
4. Fixed regime for watching TV or playing video games
Watching TV and playing video games kills physical movement in children making them prone to childhood obesity if continued for long hours. Parents should make sure their child follows a strict routine and should not spend most of their spare time watching television or playing video games.