Is your child putting on weight? It is a matter of concern because your child might develop childhood obesity which is a quite common lifestyle disease nowadays.
Obesity is something no one should ignore because it leads to serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, blood vessel damage, etc. Childhood obesity is defined as excessive weight gain with a BMI (Body Mass Index) higher than 95% or above for their age. It not only destroys physical health but also affects the mental health of children. There is no cure available for obesity, but you can prevent obesity by knowing the causes and managing them.
There are several causes that can lead your child to obesity:
- Heredity: This factor is unavoidable. If you belong to a family with overweight or obese running in the family, chances are much higher that you also inherit the genes of excess weight from your ancestors.
- Eating habits: This is a particularly key factor because not knowing about good eating habits, using portion control, avoiding junk or fried food, etc. can lead your child to put on excess weight and become obese.
- Availability and promotion of junk food: This is one of the main factors that can cause obesity in children. The availability and accessibility of junk food is more than the availability of fruits and vegetables in the market. Fast food giants know how to build hype and make kids carve for unhealthy high-fat fried foods so that children and adults feel attracted to them and start eating them often. Boxed noodles, fried chicken, cold drinks, ice creams, pastries, cakes, biscuits, etc. are high in calories and fats and contain some chemical compounds which are bad for health and lead to weight gain.
- No physical activity: Your body stores extra calories as fat. If you don’t do physical activity, it makes you gain weight. In recent times, children don’t like to go outside and play, rather spend time on their phones, video games, and in front of the television and this lack of physical activity is one of the major causes of weight gain.
- Less sleep: Sleep is important for the body to repair the damaged tissue cells and restore functioning in your body to maintain good health. Children often ignore this and ignore their sleep because of late-night screen time, gaming, and watching series on their phones.
- Socio-economic factors: Some families live in an area where there is no place to do physical activities and both parents are working. In that case, children have to eat frozen foods and have to eat from outside, and don’t exercise or play outside in the parks which leads to weight gain.
- Psychological factors: Some children suffer from stress, depression, or anxiety (because other children bully them, they have no friends, they suffer from anxiety issues, they are a victim of abuse, their parents always fight and get angry at them, etc.). This type of situation deeply affects children, and some develop habits of stress eating when they are tense resulting in weight gain.
- Medications: In some cases, children have some disease, and their medication has side effects that lead to weight gain.
You can avoid obesity in your children if you follow the methods that are given below:
- Be supportive: Give the right support and encouragement to your children that he/she needs for weight loss. Remember that the goal is to make them fit and healthy so don’t only focus on their weight. With the right support and motivation, your child will be able to lose weight.
- Set a good example: Children like to follow the person that they admire (in movies and in real life). So, set an example of how you keep yourself fit and healthy and teach them the same, they definitely follow you.
- Introduce healthy foods in their diet: Try to introduce new and healthy foods into your child’s diet so that they learn the importance of a healthy diet. Make sure they build a liking for healthy food and start eating healthily.
- Engage them with family activities: On holidays or in free time, try to introduce family activities such as post-dinner walks, swimming, or riding bicycles, camping holidays to keep them engaged in physical activity and make them spend quality time with family.
- Set rules to sleep on time: If you set rules for your children to sleep on time, it will help to improve their lifestyle, reduce their weight, and make them healthy and active. So, set a time and nighttime routine for their sleep.
- Give time to your children: This is a thing most parents forget and ignore to know how their children are living their life. If you stay with them and talk to them as a friend, they will learn to solve and overcome any psychological and physical problems. And this is a better way to teach them the benefits of healthy eating and performing physical activity.
Childhood obesity is a common childhood disease in the world that can affect any child in the world. But as a parent, you can teach them the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
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