Childhood Obesity: Know All about Causes, Risk Factors, Prevention & Management

Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Medically, it is a problem that increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, & other co-morbid conditions. Childhood obesity on the other end is a term determined by comparing the child’s body mass index (BMI) to that of other children of their age and sex. Children who have a BMI level of 95 percentile or above are considered to have obesity.

In recent years, childhood obesity has reached new heights in developed as well as developing countries like India. However, the magnitude of the obesity among children in India is unclear but it is crystal clear that we have a unique problem of double burden at one end we have obesity in children while at the other we have malnourished and underweight children in our country.

It has been medically acknowledged that obesity significantly impacts on child’s both physical and psychological health. Further, overweight and obese children are also likely to stay obese into their adulthood and more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.

How to know your Child has Obesity? 

Scientifically obesity is measured using BMI Calculator and is recognized by medical experts. BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height. Your BMI percentage (where your BMI falls in relation to other people) is determined using your gender and age. 

Signs & symptoms of childhood obesity include – Shortness of breath, Fatigue, Increased sweating, Sleep apnea and snoring, Joint pain, Flat feet and knock knees, Skin rashes and irritation, Constipation, Early or delayed puberty, etc.

Causes & Risk Factors:

Obesity can be caused by different factors, including genetics, hormones, metabolic, and medical factors. When a child develops obesity, it’s often through a complex interaction of these and other factors including diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors. In other words, certain genetic characteristics may also cause a tendency to become obese, but if a child eats healthy food and participates in regular exercises, the gene won’t express itself and the child can maintain a balanced weight.

Prevention of Childhood Obesity: 

Children see and learn what their parents eat. Among the best strategies to decrease the risk of childhood obesity is to improve the lifestyle of your entire family. Forced and excessive feeding often may lead to poor self-control and later causes overweight and obesity. According to child specialists, parents need to ensure that their children eat when they are hungry, and not when they are tired or bored. Food as a ‘reward’ also needs to be discouraged rather parents encourage their children to go for some exercise habits. Preventing childhood obesity not only protects your child’s health now but also overcomes ailments in the future.

Obesity Management:

Fortunately, obesity in children can usually be managed through dietary and lifestyle changes. These changes become necessary because children with obesity are likely to remain obese into adulthood and are more likely to develop problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Obesity can also have mental or psychological effects on children including low confidence, depression, and social isolation.

According to the expert paediatrician at Kailash Hospital Noida, to avoid any type of medical treatment, maintaining a healthy weight by adopting healthy eating, and exercise into the routine of your children can avoid obesity and its inflicted co-morbid diseases.

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By Michael Caine

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