Childhood obesity and how to control it?

In a world faced with hunger, food shortage and poverty, it does sometimes come as a surprise that childhood obesity might be an issue. However, that is the reality, with the increase of a sedentary lifestyle and modern innovations have resulted in increased obesity especially in developed countries like the United States of America.

The data is alarming to say the least

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) from 1999-2000 to 2017-2018, obesity increased from 30 % of American people to 42 % who are now considered obese. This means that almost half of the American population is obese or overweight. Today 9.2% of the population is considered severely obese and have increased risk of illnesses such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain type of cancers.

Obesity is now considered an epidemic in the United States.

The Economic Costs of the obesity epidemic.

The rising percentage of obesity in America has also contributed to increased costs of healthcare catering to the obese population. 147 billion dollars was the cost estimated in 2008 spent on obesity related medical costs, according to the CDC, people with obesity have a medical cost $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Childhood obesity in the United States

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity statistics state that about 13.7 million children and adolescents had obesity. The number of obese children is extremely high in the United States and need to be reduced. They are at a risk of poor health and steps need to be taken to reduce the number of overweight children in the United State.

What are the reasons behind childhood obesity?

Childhood obesity can be caused by a number of reasons, some of the most common ones are genetics, lack of an active lifestyle or the lack of healthy eating habits. Sometimes there is a possibility of hormonal issues or medical problems, that can be identified with a medical exam and some blood tests.

How can childhood obesity be controlled?

There are many steps that can be taken to for childhood obesity prevention which can help children reduce weight or not gain excess weight at all.

Breastfeeding children when possible

Breastfeeding children is beneficial for both the mother and child, it has been found that children who are breastfed have a reduced risk of obesity compared to children who have not been breastfed. Breastfeeding also helps in developing a stronger immune system in children and they suffer from fewer colds and infection. These are just a few benefits of breastfeeding for children. The risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer is reduced in mothers who breastfeed their child. Women who breastfeed their child also slowdown the onset of osteoporosis that comes with age.

Controlling portion sizes of meals for children

After assessing obesity in children, it has been seen that a lot of the times children are given a larger portion of meal than their body requires. Toddlers do not require huge portions of food and can result in becoming overweight. Children with obesity have been fed larger portions of food which result in them being overweight.

Feeding healthy diet to children

It is important to introduce your children to a healthy, nutritious diet from a very young age. Food such as nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean meat should be a part of the diet from childhood. This will help children get used to such foods and eat them when they grow up. Limit calorie rich temptations such as chocolates, sweets, processed foods, junk food and soda from your children’s diet which increases weight in children.

However, if a child is overweight, a weight reduction diet is important to make sure they do not suffer from complications of obesity in the later stages of life which can include diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

Make physical exercise a part of your child’s daily routine

It is crucial to reduce sedentary time of your child from their daily routine. The lack of exercise and physical activity can result in children being overweight. Biking, jogging or just playing for 30 minutes in the park is essential for the healthy upbringing of children.

Reduce Screen time

The time spent in front of the tv screen or the computer screen can play a big role in the increase of weight of children. The constant sitting on a chair or a couch limits the activity of children and sometimes also hampers with the sleep of the child. Both these things can affect the weight of a child. So, reduce the time your child sits in front of a screen and replace it with physical exercise such as outdoor activities or even simple household chores.

Make sure your child gets adequate sleep

Studies have shown that if a child does not get enough sleep, this can increase weight in children so please make sure they have a regular bedtime routine. This should include a sleep time and a comfortable mattress and pillow.

Some of the ways listed above can help reduce obesity in children and make sure they live healthier lifestyles.