The increasing incidence of obesity among kids has become a grave concern for parents worldwide and especially in India, where the problem affects approximately 14.4 million kids. In fact, India ranks second in the list of countries with the highest population of obese kids. What makes these numbers even more alarming is the fact that childhood obesity has been linked with a wide spectrum of health issues. It is due to this very reason that parents need to be more vigilant and try their best to ensure their children are not gaining unhealthy pounds. The best way to do so is by encouraging your little ones to develop healthy lifestyles and eating habits from the very beginning.
Read ahead to learn more about obesity in children and the advice curated by experts specializing in pediatric weight management in Pune.
Children’s obesity: What are its causes?
There’s not just one, but a number of different factors that can lead to obesity in kids. The most common of these include:
- Unhealthy eating practises: Regular intake of junk food and snacks that are high in calories and low in nutrition is one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. Children often tend to skip nutritious home-cooked meals and rather choose to hog on unhealthy alternatives.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Earlier, children used to go out and spend time in playgrounds, which helped to keep them active, Nowadays, owing to the rise of technology, children spend most of their time sitting in one place, engaging in video games or watching television as opposed to being active.
- Genetics: Obesity can run in families and be inherited from parents. This means that a child’s chances of being overweight or obese are significantly high if either of his/her parents or both of them are suffering from it.
- Medical conditions: Obesity in children can be brought on by a number of underlying ailments, including hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome.
How can childhood obesity be treated?
- Encourage your little ones to develop healthy eating habits by providing them with a nutritious diet that includes veggies, whole grains, fruits, and lean proteins. Children generally tend to be fussy when it comes to eating, however, you can always try experimenting with healthy ingredients and try to serve something new on their plate every day. Make sure their food is low in fat and high in nutrition.
- Regular physical exercise can help kids lose weight by burning calories. This can be done by encouraging youngsters to participate in sports, swimming, cycling, or even just taking a stroll.
- Reduce screen time by limiting your child’s access to television, mobiles and computer. These only encourage sedentary behaviour which promotes obesity. Rather encourage your child to go out and indulge in some physical activity
- Avoid promoting emotional eating because it might result in overeating. Handing over a chocolate or ice cream to your little one can make them feel better temporarily but, this will gradually develop into a habit and they will crave these every now and then. This can also develop into an eating disorder in the long run.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep: Sleep is crucial for sustaining overall health, including controlling weight. The hormones that control metabolism and appetite can be disturbed by sleep deprivation, which can result in weight gain.
- Speak with a healthcare provider: It’s crucial to speak with a healthcare provider if your child is battling obesity. Any underlying medical issues that might be causing obesity can be found and treated appropriately with the assistance of a doctor.
- Set attainable targets: Children might be motivated to lose weight by setting reasonable goals. Celebrating little victories might help kids feel more confident and driven.
In conclusion, kid obesity is a serious health issue that needs to be addressed right away. Kids’ obesity can be significantly decreased by promoting healthy eating practices, regularly exercising, restricting screen time, and providing adequate sleep. If a child is battling with obesity, parents should seek medical advice as well from the pediatric weight loss specialist. They should also make achievable goals for their children to keep them motivated. By implementing these tactics, we can make sure that our kids become happy and healthy adults.