Children with rosy, sagging cheeks and bulging tummies are oft-construed as utterly cute. Little do we know that we are cuddling one ugly reality – cases of child obesity have risen dramatically around the world in recent years.
Moreover, aside from the setbacks that obesity brings to a child’s body, cardiac problems, and skin disorders among others, more intangible effects are there. Among these consequences are depression and poor self-esteem, more often entailing a sense of withdrawal from the outside world.
What Constitutes Child Obesity
The study Evaluation and Treatment of Childhood Obesity explains the problem. Conducted by Michael Johnson, MD, the study weighs the amount of input and output of children, which are food and exercise, respectively. The result showed that obese children are not actually gluttonous; they are just plain inactive.
The disease usually occurs between the ages of five to six and recurs during adolescence. Experts say that if a child’s weight is at least 10% higher than his or her recommended body and height type, obesity may be present.
Be more wary! Your television set is another reason for this “growing” problem. TV viewing, much more if alternated with playing addictive computer games, could keep the physical inactivity to an unbelievable high. This habit heightens chances of obesity, especially if excessive calories from junk foods and fast food treats complete the picture.
On the other hand, the genes are also a factor. If there is at least one obese parent in the family, the chance of having an obese child rises up to 72%.
How to Prevent Child Obesity
The problem of overeating, first and foremost, should be rooted when dealing with prevention and cure of obesity. What could possibly induce overeating, depression, or sheer boredom? The Johnson report recommends activities, such as journal-keeping and exercise. The child’s thoughts should also be examined and changed into positive ones, so as to help build esteem. The list goes on, which boils down to the need for cooperation within the family and the opening of communication between parent and child.
And oh, encourage smaller bites of food. Tell your child to chew food longer, taking time to put his or her fork between bites. Good and healthy habits, even the most mundane, helps counter very early childhood obesity.