Children and adolescents are affected by the serious medical disease known as childhood obesity. It's more alarming because childhood obesity frequently sets children up for health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, which were formerly thought to be the province of adults. Obesity in childhood can also lead to low self-esteem and depression.
One of the most effective ways to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the family's eating and exercise habits. Treatment and prevention of childhood obesity protect the child's health now and in the future.
What are the signs and symptoms of childhood obesity?
Not all overweight children have excess weight. Some children have bigger-than-average frame sizes. Moreover, children usually have varying body fat levels depending on their developmental stage. Therefore, it's possible that parents can't tell if the child's weight is a health risk from how they appear. The established indicator of overweight and obesity is the body mass index (BMI), which offers a weight-to-height ratio. Using growth charts, the BMI, and, if necessary, additional tests, the child's doctor can assist you in determining whether the child's weight could result in health problems.
When to see a doctor
Consult the child's physician if you're concerned that they're gaining too much weight. The pediatrician will consider the child's past patterns of growth and development, the family's history of weight-for-height, and where the child ranks on the growth charts. This might help in figuring out whether the child's weight is within unhealthy ranges.
What are the causes of childhood obesity?
The main cause of childhood obesity is lifestyle decisions. The causes of childhood obesity, however, might also be hereditary and hormonal. The followings are some important causes and risk factors for childhood obesity:
Foods and beverages high in calories, such as fast food, packaged foods, baked goods, candies, desserts, and sugary beverages
Lack of exercise
Sedentary activities like watching television or playing video games
A history of obesity and overweight in the family
having a stressful personal, parental, or family life; eating to relieve boredom or tension.
The absence of resources, wholesome dietary options, or exercise facilities.
How is childhood obesity diagnosed?
To determine whether a child is obese, the doctor will compute the child's BMI, examine the child's percentile, and determine where the child falls on the BMI-for-age growth chart. The doctor will also consider the child's growth and development, eating habits, level of exercise, any health conditions, psychosocial variables, and family health history to determine whether the child is overweight or obese.
A diagnostic blood test may also be advised by the doctor to screen for any conditions linked to obesity, including high cholesterol, diabetes, low vitamin D levels, hormonal imbalances, and others.
How is childhood obesity treated?
Depending on the child's age and other medical issues, treatment for childhood obesity is given. Treatments usually involve both increased physical activity and dietary changes for the child. Medication may sometimes be administered as part of a comprehensive weight-loss plan for some teenagers. In severe cases, weight-loss surgery may be used to treat childhood obesity.
How can I prevent childhood obesity?
The problem of childhood obesity cannot be solved easily. But there are many ways parents and other adults can contribute to preventing childhood obesity. Among the ways to stop childhood obesity are:
Adopt healthy practices
Parents who adopt healthy practices can reduce childhood obesity. The child follows everything you do. They will be more likely to change their habits if they observe you eating well and exercising..
Reduce sugar intake
Sugar shouldn't account for more than 10% of your child's daily calories if they are older than two. Avoid sugary beverages and instead serve water or low-fat milk. No added sugar at all should be consumed by children under the age of two.
Encourage better sleep
Children aged six to twelve require nine to twelve hours of sleep per night. Teenagers aged 13 to 18 require approximately eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. Because it causes the child to desire to eat more and be less active, poor sleep can induce obesity.
Keep the regular child’s appointments
The healthcare professional can help parents and the child on the path to a healthy lifestyle. When there are many missed appointments, the child is more prone to gain weight. Make sure the child visits their doctor once a year.
Childhood obesity is a matter of concern because it can lead to serious diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Focus on their health and motivate them by explaining why you want them to be healthy. If you are concerned that the child may be obese, contact their healthcare professional. Their provider can assist you in determining whether the child's weight is cause for concern. They can assist you in developing a plan to re-establish the family's healthy food and physical activity habits.
At Medicover Women and Child, we strongly encourage the parents to have frequent preventative check-ups of their children so that you can detect pediatric obesity early on. We have cutting-edge infrastructure, technology, and services to detect and treat childhood obesity. Our team of highly skilled and experienced nutritionists, dieticians, pediatricians, and support workers will treat and care for the children in the best possible way.