Obesity in children is one of the major concerns in parents today as it is inviting lifelong diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pains very early in life and the child becomes dependent on medicines to survive. Wrong food and lifestyles habits are majorly responsible for obesity in children.
Today children after coming home from school spend time in watching television, or playing games on computer therefore, the physical activity is very less and the calories they get via eating food is stored in the body as fat.
Today easy access to fast food, packaged food have changed our food habits. Children like to eat chips, burgers, pizza, pastries and soft drinks than home cooked food. Most of the time parents also submit to their children’s demands believing that they will at least eat something than nothing or because many parents don’t realize the long term disadvantages of packaged food.
Today parents give more importance to study and apart from school they enrol their children in various tuitions, hobby classes, extra curricular classes etc, by doing all this the child become tired and does not have time to play and by play we mean physical activities. They end up watching television or play video games. Playing sports as entertainment seems to be non-existent.
Apart from these reason, obesity in parents and imbalance of thyroid are unavoidable reasons for obesity in children.
- It is important for parents to keep a watch on their children weight.
- If a new born baby’s weight is 3 kgs then by 6-7 months he/she should be of 6 Kg and by 1 year he should weigh 9 kg. By 2 years he should be 12 kg and by 7 years and 10 years he should be around 21 kg and 30 kg respectively.
- From 1-3 years a child usually grow by 3 kgs per year and from 3 years to up 12 years he grows up by 2 kg per year. The concept of BMI ( body mass index) is the best way to check obesity in children. For this the weight of the child should be measured in kg and the height in meters.
- BMI = (weight: height) 2, so if the weight of the child is 20 kg and height is 110 centimeter then the BMI is 16.5. BMI more than 22 means the child is putting on weight and a BMI of 25 means the child is obese.
If your child is obese or is putting on weight then you need to bring change in his lifestyle and food habits.
- Give your child food having less calories and more fiber. It helps in controlling weight and glucose in blood.
- Avoid giving fast food and packaged food as they are rich in trans fat and cholesterol which are prime culprits of obesity in children and associated health problems.
- Avoid giving excess sugar and chocolates. Home cooked fish and chicken cooked with minimum oil can be given for protein intake.
- Avoid cream milk and milk products. Instead give soya bean and lentils.
- Replace snacks with fruits, salads and soups. If they like to munch something then give roasted dry fruits like walnut, almond, cashew, pistachios as they contain fat beneficial for body.
Lastly, make a routine of playing outdoor games in the evening. Take them to nearby park or for a walk in the morning. Take them for aerobics, dance classes, Playing cricket or football. Playing any form of sports will help to strengthen their muscles, improve blood circulation, improve metabolism, immunity and it will control obesity.