How to deal with childhood obesity

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How to deal with childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a lot common than we anticipate

How to deal with childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a lot common than we anticipate. According to Mayo Clinic, every year, India almost records 10 million cases per year. It is a condition in which a child suffers from being overweight condition as per their height and age. This can be a complex condition, if not cured on time. Here is what you need to know if your child is overweight or prone to obesity.

Why childhood obesity is common?

Ms Nandini Chopra, M.Sc Clinical Nutrition, University of Delhi, shares why every other child is coming across such a condition. She mentioned, “It can be the result of the sudden boom in globalisation and urbanisation, there is a shift in how people now live, especially in urban settings. Therefore, this gets along sedentary behaviour, that is one of the key driving factors of childhood obesity in India.”

Causes of childhood obesity

The primary reasons for childhood obesity shared by Dr Chopra are mentioned below:

- Sedentary behaviour is one of the common causes. For example, while taking online classes, children sit continuously in front of the screen which includes decreased physical activity.

- Increased intake of ultra-processed foods. Such as instant ready food, including chips, namkeens, cheese, packaged juices, aerated beverages etc, this instantly triggers fat and lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

- Along with the unhealthy consumption, usage of technology has profoundly impacted the quality of life in the sense that now children are addicted to screens and play outdoors less.

This condition has further increased, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when children stop going out and lead to zero physical activity.

Future health risk

The health implications of childhood obesity are serious. It not only leads to becoming overweight but it roots in many other lifelong ailments. Excessive weight in childhood can cause atherosclerosis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, respiratory disorders later in life. Studies have shown that obesity can have an inter-generational effect as well.

Precautions

- Eat well, prefer healthy eating.

- Balance the diet between carbohydrates, protein and fibre.

- Perform physical activity.

- Promote healthy living at home.

- Play outdoor for at least 30 minutes every day.

Here is a guide, for parents shared by Dr Chopra:

For parents, it is important to give up a sedentary lifestyle. They themselves would act as a living example for their children. Not introducing screens to the child before the age of three is a mandate every parent should follow. In addition, active parent participation in “play-time” can boost the child's morale and motivate them to play more.

Parents should be mindful about choosing the right nutrition for their children. Ultra-processed packaged food might be an easier pick due to its ready-to-eat nature but they are unhealthy in the long run as it has a lot of empty calories and it does not provide the child with any nutrients. Eating these for a long time can put the child at risk of micro-nutrient deficiencies. Thus, home-cooked nutritious meals should be made and children should be encouraged to eat that.

Fresh fruits and vegetables have an abundance of flavour and nutrients. Therefore, they should be given to the child daily. Introducing new home-cooked meals will also help the child to develop taste. One important tip: make sure your child chews the good properly and does not merely gulp it down.

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