Childhood obesity is a medical condition wherein bad eating habits make children gain excessive fat that negatively affects their health. Childhood obesity is a matter of concern because the extra pounds often land children on the path to health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, etc. It can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.
A person is termed as overweight when he/she has a very high body weight for a particular height and it constitutes the weight of the bones, fat, muscles, water or a summation of all these factors. Obesity solely refers to excess of body fat.
BMI, a term associated with weight stands for Body Mass Index. BMI is calculated by dividing an individual’s weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters. It helps in measuring childhood overweight and obesity.
Causes of obesity
With a freaky range of delicious food items and beverages in the market and an opulent lifestyle with very little health habits, children tend to gain extra pounds quite easily. But genetic and hormonal factors can’t be neglected. Genetic predisposition to obesity is very common.
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It is of general perception that obesity in an individual is easily detectable merely by looking at the size of the individual but it is not so. You can’t figure out by just looking at a child whether he’s obese or not as some children have larger than normal body frames. They generally bear different amount of body fat at various stages of life.
Appropriate and subsequent diagnosis can be performed by your child’s doctor who can easily figure out whether your child is a victim of childhood obesity or not. He could pose serious health problems associated with obesity by using various growth charts and if necessary he may recommend some tests too.
Effects of obesity
Obesity in children has doubled and quadrupled in adolescents in the last thirty years. It is a common matter and troublesome for children as well as their parents in the long run. It has both instantaneous as well as lifelong effects on health and well-being.
Some of the immediate effects of childhood obesity are as follows:
- Obesity in children and adolescents makes them more vulnerable to prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition wherein the individual has increased chances for development of diabetes.
- Obese children are at an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, it is a diseases of the heart and associated blood vessels. For example, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- Obesity in children and adolescents invite countless diseases and problems such as bone and joint, social and psychological, depression, poor self esteem, sleep apnoea etc.
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Some of the long-term effects of childhood obesity are as follows:
For children and adolescents who are associated with obesity, it’s possible to remain obese in their adulthood too.They are also exposed to a wide variety of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, bone related problems; cancer of breast, colon, kidney, oesophagus, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, endometrium, ovary, prostate glands, cervix, thyroid, as wells as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
As now you are aware of the facts regarding obesity, you can’t simply let your child’s health suffer by giving pity excuses. Simple tricks and preventive measures will keep your child healthy, fit and fine, both physically and mentally.
- Incorporate healthy lifestyle habits
- Promote outdoor games, sports, exercise, yoga and meditation
- Promote healthy eating habits
- Educate and spread awareness
Childhood obesity is a crucial medical condition. It makes children more prone to dangerous diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, etc. and affects their health in the long run. Healthy eating habits and active participation in outdoor games not only prevent obesity but also lead to a good life.