Newspapers and channels these days are rife with an earlier somewhat not much-talked of a problem in children. In fact, just a few years ago, it was not considered a malaise, but even a sign of good health.
Childhood Obesity – is coming more and more into center stage as one of the biggest challenges which the world is beginning to feel.
Is it not ironic that when we have a hue and cry about malnourishment and not enough food for children to eat, it is obesity that is now looming large on our earth radar?
It is on record that this condition has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the last three decades. Figures also revealed that just a while ago, 42 million infants and young children were overweight or obese. By 2025, this figure is portended to cross the 70 million mark. In addition, afflicted adults may even die up to three to seven years earlier than their thinner counterparts.
Obesity in children, as per medical definition, is a state wherein which the excess body fat adversely influences a child’s health. Being overweight, on the other hand, is having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these.
Both conditions are a consequence of caloric imbalance. This, in turn, is due to very less calories being used as compared to the number of calories which is taken in. Also, it is true that trying to ascertain the amount of body fat is tough, the actual call on obesity is taken via the Body Mass Index (BMI) levels.
It is also now known that overweight children are more likely to develop into adults with similar weight issues. Chronic ailments like those to do with the heart, diabetes and even stress, anxiety and depression can more easily afflict such children. They may also be more prone to bone problems, skin conditions like heat rashes, acne and fungal infections.
However, with much research going on in this field, there are some conclusions on the causes leading to this condition. Genetic factors, lack of enough physical exercise, unhealthy diet or even a combination of these reasons could culminate in obesity.
What has been ascertained is that hormonal problems do not really lead to such a status. It is also a fact that children with parents or siblings with obesity are at a somewhat increased risk of this disease. However, this can also be due to sharing similar eating patterns and having the same kind of activities and lifestyle.
To get rid of such obesity related conditions, if a weight loss programme is required, one can: encourage healthy eating practices by serving more portions of fruits and veggies; buying fewer quantities of soft drinks and high fat snack items; making sure that children are eating breakfast each day; do not use food as a reward for studies or other activities done well; make sure that kids have about sixty minutes of physical activity every day.
Also, the parents and other siblings can join in and incorporate such changes within their own lifestyle as well to ensure all around healthiness in the environment.
At the very end, it is essential to mention that obesity is a serious concern since it is difficult to reverse, at times. Hence, effective prevention is what is more than half the battle won in this case.