Have you ever stopped to wonder why so many people are overweight?
Well, here’s a clue, a good number of them might have started gaining excess weight as kids. Yep, and that’s called childhood obesity – the main reason behind a lot of big sizes we see today.
Childhood obesity isn’t just a fancy term. According to Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents, unhealthy eating habits (consuming too many calories) and insufficient physical activities result in most children being overweight.
The clinical interpretation of childhood obesity includes having a body mass index (BMI) that reaches or surpasses the 95th percentile on the growth charts designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
In this article, we’ll discuss how important it is to make some lifestyle changes. What are these changes? They’re the secret to tackling childhood obesity and making our lives better.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
Childhood obesity has multiple causes, factors contributing to it, and associated health risks. In the course of this article, we’ll look at some factors.
Choice of food: Kids can be quite picky when it comes to food, and they sometimes want to have their way.
They will refuse to eat nutritious foods and end up munching on all sorts of sugary and high-calorie snacks and drinks.
This turns out to be one of the reasons they start adding weight. The real deal here is finding a balance – enjoying the snacks without going overboard.
Lack of physical activity: Kids no doubt love to play around with either their friends or toys but sometimes, too much screen time with their gadgets can take away their playtime.
Regular physical activities and simple habits, like riding a bicycle to school instead of taking the bus and engaging in extracurricular activities at school, contribute significantly to their overall well-being and help maintain good health.
Genetics: Sometimes, the way our bodies are built is determined by our genetic makeup. Just like how you might have hair like your dad’s or a face like your mom’s, you might also inherit a tendency to carry extra weight.
If a child comes from a family where its members struggle with being overweight, it could be something that gets passed on to the child as well.
Psychological factors: Imbalanced emotions can also play a vital role in childhood obesity. Stress, boredom, etc., can lead to overeating.
Kids might eat when they’re not hungry, and this adds up over time. Teaching them healthy ways to handle their emotions is key. This helps them develop healthy eating habits and keep their weight in check.
Environmental factors: Environmental influence matters too. If children have free access to unhealthy foods or restricted access to safe places to play, it can be a bit of a challenge.
Creating surroundings that make it easier to choose nutritious foods and stay active will make a big difference in preventing childhood obesity.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO TACKLE CHILDHOOD OBESITY
In case you’re wondering what steps to take to tackle your child’s obesity problem, the first thing is to focus primarily on their health, not their weight.
You must support your child in their journey towards better health. Here are ways you can do that:
- Be a good role model: Being a role model is a powerful way to tackle childhood obesity. When parents and caregivers lead by example, children are more likely to adopt healthier habits. Show them the value of balanced meals by eating nutritious foods together as a family. Engage in physical activities, whether it’s a walk in the park or a bike ride, and encourage them to participate. Create an environment that emphasizes healthy choices. Through your actions, you’ll be instilling lifelong habits that promote well-being, making a positive impact on their health now and in the future.
- Be sensitive: As parents, you need to be exposed to your child’s needs and feelings when dealing with childhood obesity. Each child is unique, and their relationship with food and activity may differ. Avoid making weight a primary focus; instead, emphasize overall well-being. Listen to their concerns and preferences, and involve them in making decisions about meals and activities. Encourage open conversations, so that they will feel supported and understood. Tailor lifestyle changes to their pace, helping them build a positive relationship with food and exercise. By being attuned to your child’s needs, you create a supportive environment for their wellness.
- Portion control: It involves understanding that the amount of food we eat matters just as much as what we eat. Encourage them to listen to their body’s signals of hunger and fullness. By serving appropriate portion sizes, you’re helping them develop healthy feeding habits. This skill becomes invaluable as they grow, allowing them to enjoy their favourite meals while maintaining a balanced diet. It’s about quality and quantity, ensuring that every bite contributes positively to their well-being.
- Regular sleep routine: Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is crucial in the fight against childhood obesity. Quality sleep plays a major role in maintaining a healthy weight. Children who consistently get enough sleep tend to have better control over their appetite and are less likely to consume excess calories. Aim for age-appropriate sleep durations and create a calming bedtime routine. Prioritising sleep sets the stage for improved overall health and supports their efforts to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
In conclusion, by adopting these lifestyle changes, we equip our children with the tools they need to fight childhood obesity. Through active play, balanced meals, and proper sleep, we’re building a solid foundation for their well-being.
As parents and caregivers, our efforts now will shape their tomorrow. Let’s work together to ensure our children grow up strong and healthy.