Childhood overweight and obesity in children has serious impacts both physically and psychologically in adulthood. Parents should be aware of these risk factors and guide children to healthy food habits.
Childhood obesity reached epidemic levels in developed countries. Overweight and obesity in childhood will have a serious impact on kid’s mobility especially on physical and psychological health. Many factors play pivotal role in prevalence of overweight and obesity mainly environmental factors, lifestyle preferences, and cultural environment. Certain cases, psychological disorders such as depression resulting in increased calorie and fat intake consequently increased frequency of overweight and obese children. In United states alone, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity in children more than tripled from 1971 to 2011.
There is supporting evidence that kids are consuming excess calories than required. High intake of excess sugar intake by soft drinks, candies, excess fat foods by deep fried items, junk foods and increased portion size, and a very steady decrease in physical activity played a pivotal role in rising trends of childhood obesity across the world. Overweight at very early age leads to health risk most likely cardiovascular and digestive diseases in adulthood as compared with non-obese.
Food intake and physical activity
There are studies reporting that high calorie intake and less physical activity may be the reason for prevalence of obesity in children as well as adults. Sedentary behaviors like watching and spending long hours before computer for playing video games has lead to current situation. Consuming carbonated drinks, high fat food like burger, pizza, chips and high sugar foods such as pastries, cakes, candy, chocolates promote weight gain.
Replacing high sugar foods with fruits, carbonated drinks with fruit juices without additional sugars added and high fat foods with low calorie substitutes and using baked foods instead of fried can help resolve the issue to some extent. Along with these issues, parents are advised to encourage their children to consume fruits, vegetables and provide them with a balance diet and encourage them to involve in physical activity such as playing outdoor games, walking, or jogging is strongly recommended.
These strategies can also be initiated at schools or after-school care services as involving parents in few of the activities can be beneficial for both kids and parents as they can spend some time with their kids even with their busy schedules. These strategies should be culture specific, ethnical, and consider the socio-economical aspects of the targeting population.
Dehghan M et al., Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention. Nutrition Journal. 2005: 4:21.