“O, she’s such a chubby and healthy baby … You’re so lucky!” As a parent, you’re on the seventh heaven when your relatives compliment your kids with praises like this.
“Your cheeks are so chubby and you look just like a doll” – In junior grades, this compliment is really cute.
But as you progress to the middle grades and in your senior years, you are given new names like fatty, fatso or baby elephant; they aren’t cute anymore. Kids are body shamed.
As per the global reports, childhood obesity is now a worldwide epidemic with more and more children gaining hazardous weight. The statistics on childhood obesity are a bit disturbing and healthcare professionals are at a concern.
Why is childhood obesity concerning?
Childhood obesity has become a trend and in the past two decades, the numbers have risen at a shocking rate. Childhood obesity is considered a life-long health problem. Let’s see why
- Obese children later develop a high risk of chronic diseases like sleep apnea, bones, and joint problems, diabetes, and asthma.
- Being affected by diabetes at a younger age leads to kidney damage and heart disease later
- Childhood obesity also serves as a risk factor for diseases related to cardiovascular health like high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol
- Children who are obese are often bullied by classmates and peers that lead to a low self-esteem and depressive attitude that may continue into adulthood.
How can parents help their child attain a healthy weight?
Here are some tips for parents to follow that will help children attain a healthy weight:
1. Visit a doctor
Your first step to dealing with the weight gain of your child should be a visit to the pediatrician. You must first find out if the weight gain in your child is due to poor lifestyle and eating habits or there is some underlying condition. There have been innumerable clinical records that show childhood and teenage obesity is often a result of some underlying health disease like PCOS in girls or maybe diabetes.
2. Shop food that is healthy
A poor eating pattern also leads to increased body weight. Take your child along when you go grocery shopping. Ask them to pick fruits and veggies of their choice. Cut back on foods rich in preservatives, sugar, and sodium like cookies, cakes, French fries, chips, and other prepared meals. Show them healthy snacking options like nuts and dry fruits (in moderate).
3. Put a halt to those sweetened beverages
Sodas and other sugary drinks are the primary culprits to your child’s unhealthy weight gain. They are also very rich in calories that prove harmful to health.
4. Encourage healthy eating habits
Healthy eating starts at home. Develop healthy eating habits in your family like fruits, vegetable, and whole-grains. Include low-fat dairy products in meals daily. They must also have lean protein like fish and chicken to give them the necessary dose of protein.
5. Physical activity for kids
A sedentary lifestyle is a silent killer of the modern age. Don’t let your kids sit for long hours before the television or playing video games. Enroll them in a physical activity or a yoga class. Besides weight loss, it will also strengthen their bones, decrease blood pressure and increase self-esteem.
It is important to limit screen time in children and encourage them to adopt a healthy eating habit.
Keep a check on your child’s weight and if you notice any abnormalities in health and behavior, visit a pediatrician for assistance.