Childhood Obesity

The Threat of Childhood Obesity

It is always an adorable sight to see a kid with full cheeks and a bright smile. But with changing lifestyles and eating habits, Childhood obesity has replaced the pleasant chubbiness that was once so romanticized. From 1990 to 2013, the number of obese children, between the age of 0 and 5 years, has increased to 42 million. A majority of these young children live in developing countries. In these regions, where recent exposure to western food habits have made the Childhood obesity rates jump by up to 30% more than those of developed countries. It is projected that these numbers will go up to almost 70 million by 2025.

If there is no intervention, these obese young children will likely become obese young adults, and thus increase their chances of contracting a wide variety of diseases including diabetes and heart diseases. One of the best ways to avoid  immaturity is to exclusively breastfeed the child from birth to 6 months of age. It is proven to be an important way to help infants avoid becoming overweight or obese.

What childhood obesity can do:
  Children that are obese are more likely to  manifest a variety of health problems as adults.
– Cardiovascular diseases become more common  with every kilo over the basic weight.
– Increased fat deposits on the body can result in developing insulin resistance, an early sign of        diabetes.
– Obesity can also cause musculoskeletal disorders, especially osteoarthritis, a highly degenerative  disease of the joints.
– Obesity can also cause endometrial cancer, breast cancer or colon cancer.
– Obesity may also lead to certain disabilities.

Obesity
Causes of Childhood Obesity
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Childhood Obesity – Preventable

Causes of obesity:    The chances of obesity increase with changes in the environment in which the children are raised. Genetic factors and things like gestational diabetes can also result in increased birth weight and risk of obesity.Make sure that children are always fed healthy foods. Establishing healthy food preferences along with a strong emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Make sure the children know how processed foods can hurt their bodies. Lack of information often hurts more than the food item itself, it is important to know what your food products contain. Sugar rich products are marketed with great aggression resulting in a huge impact on the psyche of a child.There is a popular perception that a fat baby is a healthy baby. That is far from the truth and often encourages parents to over-feed their children. This world has very few opportunities for play for children these days, parents should make sure that their kids get enough exercise and play to balance their diets.

How to prevent obesity:  One of the biggest ways to encourage fitness and keep obesity at bay is to encourage children to play more often. Playing games outdoors along with friends can stimulate the child and encourage metabolism. Children below one year of age should be fed with nutritionally adequate foods in consultation with the doctor.Keep a firm check on the amount of sugars and processed food that children eat.
Limit their dependence on aerated drinks and chocolates.
Instead of cutting these items out completely complement them with healthy items and regulate their intake. Ensuring that children understand the importance of nutrition along with taste is essential. Childhood obesity can only be avoided provided the parents identify the problem areas and work towards rectifying them.

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About the author
Ajay Phadke
Dr. Ajay Phadke is the fourth generation of Doctors in the family. He has passed with distinction from Seth G.S Medical College and KEM Hospital (M.D Pathology). Was a gold Medalist in Medicine in M.B.B.S. Is a visiting faculty member for SNDT university. Has given over 20 lectures in Physician and pathology conferences. His current interest is Infertility testing and Molecular diagnostics. He is the Center Head of SRL Dr.Phadke Pathology labs which have recently completed 50 years.

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