Before we delve into this dilemma, perhaps we should clear up any initial uncertainty. An obese child is not a few pounds overweight. Childhood obesity is when total body weight is more than 25 percent fat in boys and more than 32 percent fat in girls (Lohman, 1987). It is not cute. It is not healthy. Childhood obesity is a very dangerous problem, plain and simple. Obesity is the leading cause of pediatric hypertension and increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Not only is obesity detrimental to the physical body, it is damaging to the child’s emotional well-being, as well. It lowers self-esteem and may make the child susceptible to ridicule by peers. Research has also shown obesity to cause lethargy, resulting often times in depression.
Causes of Childhood Obesity:
What causes childhood obesity? Sometimes it may be hard to pinpoint the direct cause in an individual child, but there are a few things that lead to this epidemic. Some causes we have no control over, but the majority we can control. For example, Poor eating habits.
Many children eat so much junk food and fast food, they do not know what fresh vegetables taste like anymore. Eating high-calorie food, eating when not hungry, and munching when bored or doing homework all play a big role in poor eating habits.
- Low family income may force families to purchase only cheap, non-nutritious foods.
- Consistent inactive behavior, such as playing video games and watching television, may lead children to gain weight.
- Neglect. Many unfortunate children do not have a caring parent or guardian in their lives to tell them how to eat properly. And some children simply have aphetic parents.
- Genetics. Chances are high that if the parents are obese, the children will be obese, too.
- Treatment for the Obese Child If your child is obese, it is not too late to take charge and change his or her life for the better. In fact, now may be the perfect time to help your child look and feel healthier.
Remedies of Childhood Obesity:
So what can you do to prevent obesity?
- Exercise. Though not enough stress can be put upon the importance of exercise, in not only an obese child’s life, but in a healthy person’s life as well. Plan outdoor activities, play sports with your child, enroll your child in an aerobic classes. There are many ways to incorporate physical exercise in your child’s daily routine.
- Food management. Keep in mind that placing your child on a diet is not advisable. Children are still growing, so they need certain foods to help them grow up strong. Instead of dieting, try to monitor what your child eats. Make sure that they consume a balanced regime of fruits, vegetable, and grain. Try to keep the fat and sugars to a minimum.
- Keep a food diary. Yes, this sounds monotonous, but have your child keep a food diary of what he or she eats each day. That way you and your child can work together to keep a record of healthy eating habits.
- Reward. Don’t forget to reward your child (but not with food) for the positive strides that he or she makes. Offer incentives for good results.
- Childhood obesity is a hazardous condition that can be prevented. If we simply teach our children healthy eating habits at a young age, these behaviors will most likely be followed. Teach them how important physical activity is by finding activities they enjoy participating in, like sports or dance. Explain to them that the healthier they eat, the better they will feel. And who doesn’t want to feel good inside and out? Introduce them to fruits and vegetables early in their diets, and maybe someday they will choose an apple over a slice of apple pie.