Why obesity in your child is dangerous

Parents naturally want their children to gain weight, as they grow. The result is that they tend to overlook, even welcome, some extra pounds that creep in. But such a situation carries the risk of imminent obesity and can become a serious problem.

Endocrine and genetic problems are uncommonly responsible for childhood obesity; they are indicated if the child is short, in addition to obese. Also, if you belong to a family of overweight people, your child is genetically predisposed to be overweight.

However, obesity in children is largely attributable to an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle, compounded by overeating. Pressure to perform at school and extra-curricular activities leave children with little time for exercise anyway; couple that with junk food and your child is already at risk for obesity.

Overeating and lack of exercise is a dangerous combination that you need to eliminate from the family – your child cannot fight this problem alone. Therefore, it is imperative for the family to adopt healthy habits.

Obese children are at much greater risk of growing into obese adults.  This can make them prone to several, serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, eating disorders, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, liver problems, and sleep disorders. Moreover, they may experience fatigue, and emotional problems such as low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Behavioural issues and depression are not uncommon in obese people.

How to beat obesity

  • Improve yourself first: Parents are role models for children. Make healthy eating and fitness your priority if you want your kids to be able to do the same.
  • Eat healthy: Throw those fast food cans away; make healthy eating a family affair. Encourage your child to eat more vegetables, especially green leafy ones. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods such as whole grain items and fruits, instead of colas and junk food. If the children make a fuss initially, remain patient. They’ll soon begin to enjoy healthy meals.
  • Order out wisely: Eating out often limits healthy choices – you have no control over the oils used, for instance. One option is to stick to salads or low-fat tasty meals. Also remember to keep your portions small.
  • Become active: At least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity is recommended daily. Get them to enjoy exercising, and encourage them to take up outdoor activities and sports.
  • Set goals: One way to achieve targets in weight management is to set goals for kids and the family. These could be limiting snacks, going for walks every day, or a Sunday afternoon match.
  • Ration TV time: Children today spend an unhealthy amount of time in front of the TV.  You can help the situation by rationing TV watching (no more than 1-2 hours a day), and banning snacks in front of the TV. You need to switch off the TV too – stop being a couch potato yourself to discourage your child from being one.

Childhood obesity can have many far-reaching negative consequences on your child’s future. So support your child and encourage him to lose weight.

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Image: Flickr/Creativecommons Betsssssy

Also read:

Physical inactivity – Who is to blame?
Healthy Alternatives To Junk Food in a Kids Diet
Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight