Child obesity is becoming a serious concern across the world. Worldwide, India holds the second position when it comes to childhood obesity. There are 14.4 million cases registered of childhood obesity, which is an alarming number. Childhood obesity is a condition in which the BMI goes beyond the optimal range.
BMI is measured based on height and weight. The normal range of BMI varies from person to person, along with age. Based on the IAP BMI chart(2015), if the BMI range is above the cutoff of adult equivalent of more than 23 kg/m2, then that child is overweight. If BMI range is above the cutoff of adult equivalent of more than 27 kg/m2 , then that child is obese.
There are many reasons for the rise of obesity among children across the world. A lot of factors contribute to obesity as it is not a stand-alone problem that can cultivate overnight. Obesity can attribute to so many problems in children. There are hundreds of causes that are responsible for the rampant obesity in every section of the society. The reasons vary from social to the economic status of families. There is no hard and fast to make a criterion for obese children as they belong to every region of the world.
- Family practices
- Eating habits
- Social scenario
- Increased use of technology
- Increased consumerism
- Lots of convenient food options
- Lack of activities
- Dormant lifestyle
- Treatment with steroid medications
Obesity is not a stand-alone problem, so it not advisable to treat obesity just like another disease. Every child needs a different kind of approach when he/she is diagnosed with obesity because every child is different, and factors related to obesity are various. Age and medical conditions vary in obesity so that the treatment approach will be changed in accordance with the need.
Before going for medical treatment, parents should try to do some fundamental changes in the lifestyle of their children when it comes to obesity.
Healthy eating habits are the first step towards a healthy lifestyle. Eating habits make the eighty percent part of a healthy and balanced approach. Parents have to make changes in the eating pattern of their child to cure or to avoid obesity:
- Avoid processed foods as much as you can.
- Try to limit your sugar intake.
- Avoid fast food to make some place for healthy eating.
- Try to track meal portions and macro-count whenever having a any meal.
Physical activities should be an essential part of a child’s lifestyle because, without physical activities, a child can gain weight very quickly, which ultimately leads to obesity. Parents have to be aware of the activities of their child to overcome the couch-potato lifestyle of these days.
- Do some recreational activities.
- Try to limit the timings of TV-watching hours to make a child go outside and play.
- Play some games which require substantial participation of child and parents.
Treatment with medications is needed, if there is hormonal imbalance leading to obesity or if there are co-morbid health conditions. It is to be taken under the supervision of a pediatric endocrinologist.
Every child is special and it should be the responsibility of a parent to take care of their child physically and mentally. Without paying heed, obesity can lead to disastrous consequences for your child.