Children have more energy requirements since they are in the growing stage. A nutritive diet is essential for their healthy development. Unlike adults, children are more prone to diseases. When they consume more number of calories than they actually burn, the extra calories get stored in their body in the form of fats.
Childhood obesity is of immense concern today. It has become a universal phenomenon. Children, who are overweight, tend to grow up as obese. Therefore, they develop higher risk of inheriting diseases in the later stages of life. Obesity is the gateway to many diseases such as, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease etc. Health problems increase with obesity on a rise.
An obese child is often confronted with psychological distress. Teasing and bullying children about their appearance can affect their self esteem and make them lose their self-confidence. It can lead to isolation and depression at a young age.
Children generally tend to be overweight, if their parents are obese. But genetic factors are less significant in determining childhood obesity. Today, most of the children are obese because of their unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercises. High-calorie food such as junk food, beverages and confectionaries are fatty and causes obesity in children. Children spend several hours in watching television. As a result, obesity is greater in such children as they hardly devote time towards any physical activity.
Experts advise that children should not be stressed to lose weight. Instead they should be persuaded to maintain a healthy weight so that they slowly and steadily grow into it, as they get taller.
Awareness amidst parents and adults regarding childhood obesity is important. They must try to inculcate healthy eating habits in their children. Fast foods such as burgers, pizzas, macaroni, hot dogs, chocolates, cakes and crisps should be avoided. A healthy nutritive diet enriched with proteins and vitamins should be taken. Avoid taking fried foods. Try to grill or bake the food. A healthy breakfast of milk with wholemeal wheat biscuits and a fruit is a good start for the day. Keep your children away from carbonated drinks that have high sugar content. Substitute them with fresh juices and other sugar-free drinks.
Indulgence of children in activities like gardening, skipping and cycling can help to prevent obesity. Encourage your children to walk down to school or the market, instead of simply jumping into the car. Motivate them to play games such as football, rugby, tennis etc.
Studies also indicate that breastfeeding a baby may reduce his chance of becoming obese, later in life.
A little improvement in the lifestyle can protect your children from being the victims of childhood obesity.