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.