Obesity in children is an anomalous medical condition where there is an alarmingly excess amount of fat in the body. It aggravates the health of the child at both emotional and physical levels. Typically, an individual with a body mass index (BMI) of over 25 is categorized as overweight and a person is pronounced as obese if it crosses 30.
Body Mass Index or BMI is a good indicator to find out if your child is overweight. Growth charts are used to calculate the BMI in children which are usually available with the pediatrician and there are apps for the same too.
Obesity in children is detrimental and hence, is a great concern for parents out there. According to recent reports, the number of obese children is escalating in India. The Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism exposed that around 5-8.8% of children are obese in India. Most shockingly, the World Obesity Foundation foresees that around 27 million people will be obese by 2030. (Source: NDTV, Health 2019).
These statistics of obesity in children indeed paint a grim picture & thus it needs to be addressed with proper nutrition and by promoting an active lifestyle in children.
Check out: A nutritious guide for your toddlers
If we delve into the root of the issue of obesity, genetics can be one of the primary determinants. But in a majority of the cases, the following are the causes of obesity in children:
● Excessive consumption of high calorie and sugary foods
● A sedentary lifestyle characterized by little or no exercise
● Psychological factors play a crucial role as the amount of stress put on the child can to an extent contribute to obesity. Some children develop an unhealthy habit of eating food to overcome stress.
● Social and economic factors like low income in the family to afford healthy food.
● Intake of fast food or highly processed food can also cause obesity
A prolonged state of obesity can be detrimental to the child's well-being. Some of the major consequences include developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol which are precedents of cardiovascular diseases.
Type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems including asthma, and sleep apnea can be triggered in the body because of obesity. Other consequences are gallstones, fatty liver disease, heartburn, and so on. It can also cause hormonal imbalances in children especially in the age group 8-11 years. Boys can develop insulin resistance whereas girls may develop problems like PCOD in the long run.
Obesity in children not only affects physical but also the emotional state. It can cause psychosomatic disorders like depression and anxiety emanating from a sense of inferiority and low self-esteem. Obese children are vulnerable to body shaming and bullying as well as subjected to social stigma. This can unfavorably affect their academics and extracurricular activities.
● A proper meal plan should be implemented to take care of all the nutritional requirements of your child. The meal plan should aid weight loss without compromising on their nutritional requirement. To find the right meal plan for you and your family, you can check Little Kizzu’s highly sought-after meal plans.
● Sugary and high-calorie foods might be reduced
● Daily exercises and workouts must be part of the daily routine. Children can be introduced to fun activities such as Bollywood dance classes, Zumba, and yoga.
● Screen time should be reduced considerably as this causes a sedentary lifestyle and increases the tendency to munch on unhealthy snacks.
● Children should drink plenty of water instead of sugary soft drinks. Water is essential for metabolism and maintaining a healthy weight.
● Children must get an adequate amount of sleep which is necessary for a sound emotional state and physical well-being.
Obesity in children can be prevented or taken care of by maintaining a proactive approach. But positive encouragement paired with the above-mentioned practices can make sure that you and your family fight through this affliction.