The Truth About Childhood Obesity


What is Childhood Obesity?

According to the Childhood Obesity Foundation, Childhood Obesity is a very serious health concern in children. These children have an excess of fat accumulation in their bodies and this causes other health issues at such young ages. The American Heart Association came up with a study that one out of 3 children and teens in the US are either overweight or obese. This is not good at all considering obesity can bring about the presence of fatal illnesses and premature death. It is the number 1 health problem in the country, side by side with smoking and substance abuse.

How can a small child become obese?

There is no one reason to pinpoint when it comes to Childhood Obesity. Several factors come to play regarding this health matter like genetics, idleness, “junk” eating, and a combination of all. Some children become overweight or obese due to another sickness or a hormonal imbalance.

If the parents are obese, chances are the child will be obese too. A child who is not that active and stays sedentary most of the day is also at a high risk of being obese. Eating “junk” foods like fast food, oily foods and processed meats are sure fire ways of getting in the obesity category, as well. Usually, these factors go together and that’s the main reason why some children are just too fat.


Is there a specific gene that makes children obese?

There is no “fat” gene. It’s not in the genetic make-up of a person to be born fat, but some children are obese because their family are “big” people. Just remember that it’s not just about the genetic history of a person. If the child will eat healthily and is into sports or intense physical activity, he or she won’t be obese even if he has family history of such. But if he or she eats unhealthily like his or her family, then, he or she will become one of the “big” and “sick” people.

What will happen if a child is obese?

If a child is obese, then, he or she is at risk of contracting many dangerous and health-impacting ailments when the child becomes of age. These ailments include heart diseases and stroke, illnesses associated with the musculoskeletal system and certain cancers. According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.6M people die each year which are obesity-related.

To add, the child will also be a candidate for Type 2 diabetes and severe asthma. These diseases are just some of the major illnesses he or she can go through while still young. It will be very difficult for the child to manage his or her health and with this, the child’s emotional well-being will also suffer.


If a child is obese, is it automatic that he becomes an obese adult?

No, it is not an “automatic” health issue. Remember, people are not born fat. They become fat because they eat a lot of unhealthy foods and they don’t exercise or do enough physical activities to burn their unhealthy diet. If by any chance you were obese as a child, a little bit of discipline and self-control can help you maintain a healthy weight and a fit physique.

How will I know if my child is obese?

The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network listed some obesity signs on children:

– He or she wears clothes that are too big for his or her age (usually 2 sizes or more).
– Your child is the fattest in the class.
– He or she loves to watch TV or play with gadgets for more than 3 hours a day.
– The child eats too much or eats just like an adult in serving.
– He or she doesn’t like to eat fruits and veggies.
– Your child is fond of eating fast food and does so, twice a week or more.
– He or she gasps for air when doing exercises or some other strenuous workout.
– The child is always eating.


How can I help my obese child?

The change must start with you, as your child’s parent. He or she will be able to lead a normal and healthy life if you begin the journey at home.

1. You must serve healthy meals from now on. Include fruits and veggies in meals and it must be a well-balanced diet of lean protein, whole foods and healthy fats. If you don’t know what to do about this, consult a nutritionist or a dietitian.
2. Avoid junk foods, sugary foods and take away.
3. If you child has a favorite dish, make a healthy alternative of it.
4. Some kids are fond of sweet treats and so, you can serve your child low-fat and low-sugar foods.
5. Talk to your kids about the importance of physical activity.
6. Require them to play, get into sports or be active for at least 60 minutes each day.
7. You must limit their internet use and TV viewing to 2 hours a day only.
8. Let them talk with a specialist for their mental and emotional health. It needs to be strengthened too.

It’s never too late to start doing this for your child. If you are obese yourself, then, you can also join your child in treading the road to health and wellness. It will prolong your days and extend your life, literally. Obesity is an epidemic, but there is a cure to it – not pills or medication. You just have to change your child’s eating habits and create daily physical activities that are fun to do for a kid.

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