The prevalence of child obesity has steadily increased over the years.
You do not even need real statistics to prove this. If you take your time to look around, there is a startling number of overweight children nowadays, everywhere you look. This predicament has led to child obesity prevention programs.
There are some parents who shrug their shoulders and say fat children are normal. But even if it was the case, why is it considered a global health problem then? Here are some of the reasons you must know.
It can cause bullying
Children who tend to be heavier compared to their classmates are more likely to suffer from bullying and social isolation. This, then, leads to low self-esteem, anxiety and in some cases, depression. The negative effects of bullying can be brought to adulthood.
People who suffered from childhood obesity tend to be at risk of chronic health conditions such as joint issues, sleep apnea, asthma, and diabetes. These chronic illnesses are alarming as they can lead to detrimental health problems that could possibly become irreversible in the future. Furthermore, the onset of diabetes in children can lead to heart and kidney failure.
Obese children are likely to grow up as obese adults. This can lead to lifelong health problems as adult obesity is associated with numerous problems such as elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, coronary heart diseases and many types of cancer.
As a parent, what can you do to help kids maintain a normal weight?
1. Encourage healthy eating habits
Offer your kids nutritious meals and snacks, and try not to provide unhealthy alternatives. You can encourage healthy eating habits by cooking their favorite healthy dishes. You can introduce low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and whole grains. Serve more vegetables and fruits while keeping them at reasonable portions.
2. Teach them the perks of becoming physically active
There are great health benefits in living a more active lifestyle. But it does not mean you need to sign up your kid to a gym membership unless of course this has been recommended by his or her doctor. To keep your kids active, allow them to ride their bikes, go swimming, or play outside the home.
Many children today are confined within their homes and play video games the entire day. Although staying home assures you that they are safe, inactivity can lead to obesity. Before this happens, teach your kids how to have fun at the park with their siblings and friends. They should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity.
3. Reduce sedentary time
Although children are big balls of energy, their quiet time to do some reading and homework is fine. But setting school work aside, limit their inactivity at home. Limit their screen time to no more than 2 hours a day and ask them to work on chores.
To keep them interested, keep a reward system in place. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages parents from allowing their children under the age of two to watch TV. Get them involved in other physical activities outside of your home as well.
4. Avoid fast foods
Treating your kids to fast food restaurants should be an occasional agenda. While it is certainly convenient to feed them burgers and fries, they are definitely not the healthier option. One of the best ways to steer clear of fast food is to carry with you healthy snacks, especially when you are on the road for a long time. This helps you and your family avoid the temptation of junk foods.
Every parent wants their child to stay healthy. Unfortunately, with the convenience and availability of unhealthy processed foods, it risks their health.
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic, and allowing the kids to stay overweight can lead to a multitude of health problems in the future. So the absolute best time to prevent this from happening is to start intervention today.