An obese child is a child who is overweight for his or her age and height. Obesity is a condition wherever excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it will cause a range of significant health issues. As youngsters grow, the increase in weight is natural. However, when weight gain becomes excessive, the kid becomes overweight and this could lead to the onset of obesity. Nowadays, children, most of them, are busy in studies because of the growing competition, so they are in less physical activity, prefer playing video games, and eat more high-fat foods which start. And, all these things cause mild obesity because of which a child gets tired to do physical activities, and this further inhibits his/her movements. Later, the child becomes moderately obese wherein the exercise becomes uncomfortable and painful, thereby making him more obese. Such a severely obese child might develop many health issues.
Dangers of Obesity:
Here are some harmful effects of obesity.
- Health issues: Diabetes, joint and muscle-related problems, high blood pressure, heart problems, high cholesterol, and sleep apnoea
- Psychological issues: Low self-esteem, Depression, Stigmatization
In girls, it may hit early puberty because of the hormonal imbalance that develops obesity.
One in three children is now considered obese. Children, who are obese or overweight, are more likely to turn to be obese adults when they grow-up. If both the parents are obese, a child has a 2/3 chance of becoming obese.
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16 Tips to Promote Healthy Growth & Prevent Obesity in Children:
Here are some easy yet effective ways to promote healthy growth in children and prevent obesity.
- Avoid processed foods that are high in fats, sugar, and salt:
The foods and drinks that are high in fat, sugar, and salt should be avoided. The foods high in fats, such as saturated fat (trans-fats), which are the unhealthiest forms of fats promote obesity. Avoid adding extra salt and sugar as it aids in weight gain. Look for foods that have low sodium and low sugar content. Chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners need to be avoided. Processed foods require less energy to digest and get stored as fat cells. So, ensure that you avoid these foods in your kid’s regular diet.
- Serve fiber-rich bread and cereals:
The foods abundant in fiber contains fewer calories and fills up the tummies. So, even though a child eats more, there is less possibility of gaining weight. Also, fiber helps to keep your child’s digestive system healthy.
- Homemade food:
Avoid eating out. It’s much healthier to cook at home and eat homemade foods, as fast foods and easy takeaway ready meals increase the risk of weight gain.
- Bake instead of frying:
Bake rather than sautéing, or use vegetable oil if you have got to fry. Oil is saturated fat so it’s high in calories. Deep frying of foods adds more calories so always prefer baking, as it doesn’t add extra calories and fats to the foods you cook or use olive oil if you have to fry. Olive oil is packed with monounsaturated fats which help stabilize sugar levels, keep your heart healthy, and helps to lose weight. Grilling is also a healthy option.
- Serve healthy fats:
Healthy fats, such as nuts, fish, olive oil, and avocado, help to lose weight. Extra virgin oil is minimally processed, unrefined, and is full of anti-oxidants. Nuts are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients.
- Do not make your kids finish the plate:
Control the portion sizes which can help to control the calorie count. Don’t force the child to finish all food if it is extra on a plate, as it will add on extra calories.
- Limit the Screen time:
Research conducted by Harvard has linked screen time and weight gain, as such sedentary habits make children fall prey to obesity. The children who have a TV in their bedrooms are more prone to obesity than those who don’t have. Limiting or cutting off the screen time can help in weight control. Reducing the time spent on computers and video games is an important factor in the prevention of obesity. Several trials, wherein after reducing children’s screen time, have been found effective in the reduction of body mass index (BMI), body fat. Make a rule that limits screen time to 1-2 hours per day, and turn off the TV during meals.
- Eat small bites and chew slowly:
Encourage your children to eat slowly; as eating speedily and too fast can increase the weight because the child eats more calories than the actual need.
- Stop food rewarding:
Reward your child with non-food treats, and do not use food as a reward. Providing tasty fast foods or junk foods can affect healthy eating and it encourages them to eat even if they are not hungry.
- Be a role model for children:
Most of the time, nowadays, parents are so busy in their work because of time-related barriers that they do not get time to exercise, and they too busy to eat healthy foods. So, they forget to maintain a healthy life. So, as a parent, you should realize the need to have healthy habits to lose weight and be a good example for your children.
- A healthy mind:
Depression, anxiety, and stress can affect your life and your children adversely. This has an enormous influence on the behaviors and patterns of you and your kids. Mindfulness, meditation, and de-stressing activities will help to keep your mind healthy.
- Be positive:
Remember every small step leads to a big change. Life may be agitated; therefore, preparation is essential to lead a healthy life. Whether it is preparing meals, coming up with fun activities, or organizing social time, ensure that you help your kids live a well-balanced life. Take steps to change your manner and improve your child’s health and well-being.
- Lock the kitchen at 7 pm:
It is surprising, but, yes, according to the experts, if you eat your last meal before 7 pm, it overall restricts the large calorie intake and will help to avoid weight gain.
- Outdoor games:
Playing outdoor games and being physically active will increase your kid’s fitness. 30-40 minutes of active playtime should be done mandatory.
- Keep foods out of your kids’ reach: Keep the food away, not in plain sight unless it is fruit or veggies.
- Encourage your children to eat five times a day: Motivate your child to eat frequently and in small quantities.
The role played by parents in helping their kids is also very important. So, follow all these tips to help your child to maintain a healthy weight.