Obesity in Children

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Information on Obesity in Children

Obesity is becoming an epidemic among children, especially with the introduction of more fast-food outlets. Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for the height and body type. Obesity most commonly begins in childhood between the ages of five and six, and during adolescence. It is among the easiest medical condition to recognize but also difficult to treat.

Basically, obesity occurs when the child eats more calories than the body burns up. Children who are overweight are more likely to become overweight adults unless they are conscious and practice healthier patterns of eating and exercise.

The major health threat of childhood obesity is the early development of Type 2 diabetes (adult onset), particularly in children with a family history of the disease. The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, cultural and behavioral factors. It can be related to a family history of obesity, endocrine and neurological problems, depression or other emotional problems and stressful life events or changes such as separations, divorce, loss, deaths, unhappiness in the family, shifted or abuse.

Some of the contributing factors to obesity in children include the lack of exercise. Most children's spend time with computer games and television and not physical activities. As it is not as safe as it was, most children do not cycle or walk to school. Instead they are more likely chauffeured by the parents. Children now tends to eat more sweets and crisps and drink more fizzy or carbonated drinks due to the popularity through advertisements. As most parents are working and do not have the time to cook, therefore convenience meals like fast food is fast overtaking traditionally prepared home-cooked meals. And these meals are extremely high in fat, salt and sugar.

Obesity epidemic in children can be avoided if we knows what our children eat at school. If possible, provide them with low-fat snacks for their breaks and meals at school. For any achievement, reward them with fruits and not sweets. Do not let them watch too much of television and use of computer games. Instead, organize family outings regularly to involve your children with physical activity games and fun exercise. Encourage them to exercise such as swimming or even walking the dog. You can also provide a variety of healthy food choices instead of restricting their diets as eating moderately is fine with any food. Occasional burgers, sweets and chips are alright as long as they are balanced by other less fattening foods. Make family dinners fun and enjoyable for everyone.


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