The World Health Organization has considered that obesity and overweight have reached levels that can be classified as an epidemic worldwide. But the childhood obesity has aroused all the alarms of the organizations due to the high figures of the latest investigations.
Many experts have come to estimate that 80% of obese children could continue to suffer from this condition when they reach adulthood; this, if you do not get to take appropriate measures from an early age. But why is this disease? How to identify it in time?
The first thing to be clear is the difference between obesity and overweight; The latter occurs when, whether a person or a child, it is above its ideal weight, with respect to its size. This will come to know, by calculating the Body Mass Index or BMI; if it is between 25 and 29.9, it is referred to as overweight. But when it exceeds 30 points, there is already talk of an obese person.
Childhood obesity: What causes it?
It is normal for a family to think that a “chubby” child is adorable and normal at that age; since this can mean that he is a healthy child and that he feeds well. But many nutrition experts do not share the same opinion as these relatives or parents.
The most important thing is that a child is healthy and the “rolls” are not proof of that. But there are some factors that intervene to children develop this type of disease. The first has to do with external elements to the child. Having some high-calorie diet and abusing foods rich in sugars and fats are some factors; But the worst of all, is to consume more calories than necessary, because they can increase body fat.
On the other hand, sedentary lifestyle can become the best ally for children to develop obesity. Currently, many children spend more hours at the computer, cell phone or playing video games; as well as, many parents consider that these activities are the best since the children are calm and focused on these devices. But this is precisely what hurts their health, favoring weight gain. Therefore, it is important to substitute for some hours outdoors, playing with other children or doing some sport.
Another factor that can contribute to the development of childhood obesity has to do with genetics. The probability of a child becoming obese or overweight increases if their parents have some of these conditions; It is said that you can have up to four times more chances of developing obesity, in the case that one of the parents is overweight. On the other hand, if both parents have this condition, those probabilities multiply by 8.
Although this last factor, it is combined with the lifestyle that the little one can carry. The way to cook the food or the foods that are consumed, have a strong impact on the child’s genetics. It is not just about satisfying hunger, it is about having a balanced diet, eating fruits, vegetables and other nuts to control the anxiety between meals.
Finally, the psychological component has a great weight. Many times, the little ones learn that they can get food, if they do some good things. On the other hand, many parents can use the food to calm a tantrum or to reassure the child. This association between food and the mind is what may lead to obesity in the future.
How to prevent childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity can be prevented, but hard work must be done to achieve it. One of the first things that parents can do is to start creating small healthy eating habits; since this way, they will be able to maintain them throughout their lives.
Balanced diets are one of the first actions that can be taken to start these habits. It is important to follow the recommendations of pediatricians and nutritionists regarding the foods that are selected and how to cook them. If the children eat in the schools, they should have a suitable menu for the children.
In addition, it is also important that schools help parents educate children about how to eat. Therefore, parents should be aware of what their children consume in school canteens.
If the child already suffers from childhood obesity, it is important that the necessary measures are taken to reduce their weight; without affecting its growth and natural development. It is also very important that parents commit themselves to this change of life; trying as much as possible, eating with children and doing activities together.
When making the purchase of the food, it must be taken into account that it is the parents who decide to take it home. Therefore, they should include fruit and vegetables; trying to minimize the consumption of products with fat and sugar. In addition, children can be accustomed to the taste of yogurt instead of eating ice cream. So, you can try other foods.
This does not imply that the children should be forbidden to eat any other goodies. It’s all about balancing food. That is why, from time to time, they can be allowed to eat something out of the usual diet.
It is important that children go out and play. This is also key when preventing childhood obesity. Doctors recommend that children perform physical activities at least 15 minutes a day. Although also, you can instill in them the love of sports. Soccer is the most popular activity among children, while girls prefer gymnastics or dancing. In addition, karate and swimming are also one of the favorites. As well as basketball or baseball.
These changes must be made slowly and in the long term. Even, it is recommended that the weight loss be moderate so that it does not affect the health of the children. On the other hand, if one day it is eaten away from home, it is best to choose restaurants that serve salads and prepare food. Avoiding as much as possible those fast food places.
With love and patience, you can prevent childhood obesity. This silent disease harms the health of large and small, so it is important to detect the signs that this condition shows, to be able to attack it in time.
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