Obesity is one of the most prevalent health challenges in the world today. Most people think of adults when they hear about obesity. However, children are also at the risk of becoming obese nowadays. Although children can become obese because of genetic factors, the most common causes are unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity. As such, it is important that you keep your children physically active and on a healthy diet.
This piece is going to take an in-depth look at obesity in children. It will explore the common causes of childhood obesity. Most importantly, this article will investigate the various ways in which childhood obesity and be avoided or treated.
Common Causes of Childhood Obesity
We have already mentioned some of the most common causes of childhood obesity. They include;
- Genetic disposition
- Unhealthy Diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Underlying health issues
Let’s explore each one of these in a little bit of detail.
Some kids are just unfortunate to be genetically predisposed to obesity. You’ll find that someone along the kid’s linage was obese. Under such circumstances, it can be difficult for them to avoid obesity or even control it. However, that does not mean that it cannot be controlled or even treated. We are going to talk about treatment a bit later.
Unhealthy Diet & Lack of Physical Activity
Most childhood obesity cases are caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. That’s the case with adults as well. If your kid is taking in too many calories and they are not burning much of them, there is a likelihood that they’ll become obese. Kids are naturally playful and active. They burn a lot of energy in the process. As such, it should not be difficult to control the calorie intake and burn-rate of your kid.
Underlying Health Issues
Health issues such as hypothyroidism and insulin resistance can cause obesity. It can be caused by psychological challenges such as depression as well. Certain medication can also cause obesity. In most cases, these are causes that neither the kid nor the parent has control over. These health issues have to be treated or put under control first in order to control obesity.
It is important to mention that obesity can cause all manner of health complications. It can cause diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and a myriad of other health challenges. This applies to both kids and adults. As such, you should be concerned if your kid is becoming overweight. If there is something you can do, you should do it immediately.
The question is; What exactly can you do to help your child avoid obesity? What can you do to bring the obesity under control if they already have it? The text below provides answers to these and more questions.
The first step to avoiding obesity in your kids in fully understanding the causes as we’ve discussed them above. Also, if your kid is already overweight, you should seek to know and understand the cause.
Ways of Avoiding and Controlling Childhood Obesity
As a parent, you have the responsibility of ensuring your child is well fed. You also have the responsibility of ensuring they do not eat more than enough. Too much of anything is not good; Even food! Your kid might lose control over their appetite. You should, therefore, keep a keen eye on their appetite levels so that you can note any abnormalities.
Kids are different. What’s enough for one kid might not be enough for the next kid.
So, how do you know how much food is enough for your kid?
There are certain indicators that can tell you that your child has taken more than enough. If your kid’s tummy shoots out after eating, it’s probably because they have taken more than their tiny stomachs can hold. If your kid is slouching in the dining chair or seems out of breath while they are eating, they’ve definitely taken more food than they need. Keep in mind that children are likely to overeat when they like the food.
Over time you will get a clear perspective of the size of portions your kid should be taking. Remember that the portions should keep going up as the kid grows older. It is easy to tell if your kid has not had enough food. The indications are always straightforward.
Avoid Actions that Reinforce Unhealthy Eating Habits
Often times, kids do not learn from what you tell them as the parent, they learn from what they see you doing. As such, if you want them to eat healthy even when you are not around to keep an eye on them, you must also be walking the talk.
Some actions that help reinforce healthy eating habits include;
- Planning early for healthy snacks. Snacks should not be eaten at random. It is easy to overeat when you start snacking randomly.
- Teach your children how to pick-up hunger and satiety indicators early enough. If they have this knowledge, they’ll know when to stop eating.
- A lot of parents make the mistake of using food as a reward or punishment. Do not involve any sort of food or drinks in your punishing and/or rewarding actions. You should neither give nor deny food in any of these circumstances.
- Last but not least, you have to teach your kids about the importance of a balanced diet. They might not understand the complexities of calories at a young age, but they should at least know about a balanced diet as early as possible.
Promote Physical Activity in the Family
You should promote a culture of exercising and working out within the family. Your kids should know why it is important for them to work out regularly.
As mentioned earlier, most kids are usually playful if they are happy and in good health. Staying physically active comes naturally to them. You won’t have to work too hard to get them to remain active. You have to find a healthy balance though. You do not want to wear them out too much either.
The measures above can be taken to avoid obesity or to shed off weight if the kid is already overweight. There are cases that might require medical intervention, especially if the kid has underlying health conditions. Kids that are obese because of genetic predisposition might also require medical attention.
If you are not sure why your kid is overweight, it is best that you get them checked out by a doctor. The doctor will advise you on the next course of action.
Keeping your child healthy and obesity at bay is not difficult, but it requires keenness on the child’s eating habits. It is your duty as a parent to reinforce healthy eating habits and lifestyle.