Obesity in children: Combating the burden with these simple and effective steps  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Obesity is also often referred to as the double burden of malnutrition
- Childhood obesity can be caused due to physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, or genetics
- According to WHO, 39 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2020
New Delhi: Accumulation of excessive fat in the body causes overweight and obesity. The body mass index (BMI) is the marker used to define obesity. Despite being a preventable condition, the burden of obesity is being borne by people worldwide. Figures since 1975 are concerning as they show a three times rise in the obese population. Just like adult obesity, the issue of childhood obesity is equally bothersome and must be looked into. If left untreated, childhood obesity can put adolescents and children at risk of developing serious health complications such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Preventing childhood obesity
Here are some tips to prevent and control the burden of childhood obesity:
- Encourage physical activity: Children who do not indulge in regular physical activity are at a higher risk of childhood obesity. Therefore, encourage exercises such as sports and yoga to ensure your kid’s health. You can participate in the exercises to make it fun and avoid monotony.
- Break the tradition of treats: Rewarding kids with sugary treats after an achievement must be stopped immediately. As harmless as it seems, it can add to sugar consumption that can put the body at risk of obesity. As an alternative, you can undertake other methods to regulate discipline and reward your child such as taking them out to the park, playing their favourite games, and more.
- Cook together: Cooking with your kids can help improve discipline and help them understand their food better. Apart from making the dining experience fun, cooking together can be a fun bonding activity.
- Define sleep time: Studies have shown that getting an inadequate amount of sleep can contribute directly to weight gain. Lockdown due to COVID-19 has disrupted the lifestyles of children across the world however, it is now time to get them back on track and regulate a healthy sleep schedule.
- Limit certain food groups: “I don’t like pizza and cake” – Said no kid ever. It may be difficult to pull your kid away from tempting foods such as burgers, fries, hotdogs, pizza, and cake. However, it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your kids stay away from excessive and unhealthy consumption of sugar, salt, and oil. Therefore, avoid feeding your kids ultra-processed, sugary, or fried foods to prevent the risk of childhood obesity.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.
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