Obesity has reached almost epidemic proportions among young Americans. According to the statistics, some 16 to 33% of children are found to be obese and many of them will have weight issues once they become adults. It is much easier to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle and habits at younger age than as a grown up person.
Having a couple of pounds extra is not considered to be a problem. In medical terms, obesity is defined as the weight which is some 10% or more over the recommended values for that child’s age and body type. In most cases, children become obese sometime around the age of 5 or 6 and if this does not change until teen age, these kids are very likely to become adults suffering from obesity.
Obesity Complicates Your Kid’s Health
Several factors are known to contribute to development of childhood obesity. Genetic and biologic factors should not be neglected, but behavior and come cultural characteristics are also very important. Obese parents have 80% chances to have obese kids. The number is not much lower even if just one of the parents suffers from this problem and in this case there are 50% chances that their children will also develop this weight problem.
In children, obesity usually appears due to improper eating habits, overeating, lack of physical activity, low self esteem and depression, some problems in the family or among friends, as well as some stressful events in kid’s life. Less than 1% of all cases of childhood obesity are linked to some physical problem, endocrine or neurological illnesses or the use of psychiatric and steroid medications.
Children suffering from obesity may experience hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and some heart disease due to increased risk of such problems. Children may also have sleeping or some breathing difficulties caused by obesity.
There are many psychological problems that may arise in children, such as emotional issues associated with excess overweight, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder or self-esteem issues.
Regular Exercise to Fight Obesity
If there is no physical cause of obesity, children diagnosed as obese should decrease the amount of calories taken during the day and increase their physical activities. Kids should be motivated to lose excess weight and if this problem affects at least one or more members of the family, they should start eating healthier and start exercising all together regularly.
Eating slowly, planning meals and avoiding fatty and junk food are good choices for children suffering from obesity, as well as less calories on the menu and portion control. Make sure to increase walking or any other physical activity the child prefers and help him/her start to lead more active life.