Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. Both terms mean that a person’s weight is greater than what’s considered healthy for his or her height. Now obesity is no longer rare in children and the prevalence is increasing at an alarming rate. Children grow at different rates, so it isn’t always easy to know when a child has obesity or is overweight. Ask your health care provider to check whether your child’s weight and height are in a healthy range. One third of children in the U. S. is overweight or obese, and this number is continuing to rise.
Children have fewer weight-related health and medical problems than adults. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of school children in reception and Year 6 in England every year, which helps in establishing the prevalence of child obesity. Two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, may be important. Leptin is released by fat cells to tell the brain that fat stores are adequate and ghrelin is released by the stomach, as a signal of hunger. In people with too little sleep, leptin levels are low and ghrelin levels high. Both these would encourage an individual to eat more.
Childhood obesity predisposes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, liver and renal disease and reproductive dysfunction. This condition also increases the risk of adult-onset obesity and cardiovascular disease. This rise in the number of overweight children is disturbing, because it causes health problems and can lead to social problems. Overweight children are more likely to be teased by their peers or to develop low self-esteem or body image problems. Once children are overweight, it requires a lot of effort and commitment for them to return to a healthy weight.
Causes for overweight
Obesity is basically caused by an imbalance between energy input and expenditure. There are numerous factors that are thought to contribute to this trend. A few will be considered here.
• lack ofphysical activity
• It is worth noting that studies investigating the role of diet or activity are generally small and include diverse methods of risk factor measurement
• Unhealthy eating patterns or a combination of these factors.
• The most obvious and common reason that cause obesity in person from any age group is large portion sizes.
• A family history(Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves)
• This rise in the number of overweight children is disturbing, because it causes health problems and can lead to social problems.Once children are overweight, it requires a lot of effort and commitment for them to return to a healthy weight.
• Consumption of Unhealthy food.
• Only in rare cases is being overweight caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem.
• Lack of Healthy fat and Absence of Physical activity.
• It is therefore difficult to establish the relative importance of the different potential contributory factors
• Eating and activity habits.
• A child’s total diet and activity level play an important role in determining a child’s weight.
• High Cholesterol
• High Blood pressure
• Stress, Anxiety and Depression among children can lead to binge eating.
• Early Heart Diseases
• Mental Health of children
• Eating junk Food
• Bone problems
If you have an overweight child, it is very important that you allow him or her to know that you will be supportive. It is also important to talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you.
The solution is childhood obesity is simple
• Serving more fruits and vegetables
• You burn a certain number of calories just by breathing air and digesting food. You also burn a certain number of calories (ENERGY OUT) through your daily routine
• Buying fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
• Encourage and maintain a healthy weight and prevent overweight are to make smart food choices and to be physically active.
• Making sure your child eats breakfast every day
• We need to take time to prepare nutritious meals for our children, encourage schools to prepare nutritrious meals and ensure that all schools and communities have playgrounds with green grass for the chidren to run and play.
• protecting the home environment: stocking your home with only healthful foods so that your child is not tempted to snack on unhealthful ones
• Limiting portion size and quality of the food can be hard especially when the child is addicted but always remember that children follow what adults do.
• Help your child and family eat healthier food
• Eating fast food less often
• Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise, like walking, biking, or swimming.
• Not using food as a reward for good behavior, academic achievement or eating a healthful food
• limiting screen time to two hours a day (TV, computer and video games
• Children should be encouraged to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.Parents should prepare the meals in a way that are attractive for the children
• Make an effort to reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing video games.
Health problems with Obesity
• type 2 diabetes – while this condition is most commonly seen in adults, it is now also being diagnosed in children
• eating disorders such as bulimia or binge eating
• The earlier the excessive weight or obesity occurs (and commences its effects on various important organs of the body), the more severe will be its effects in morbidity (illness) and in preventing a good quality of life later on
• orthopedic disorders – problems with foot structure
• Liver problems, including fatty liver.
• Asthma (extra weight makes it harder to breathe and can inflame the respiratory tract)
• Respiratory disorders, such as blocked airways and restrictions in the chest wall, which cause breathlessness during exercise.
• Heart failure (extra weight makes the heart work harde
• Sleep apnea – this is a condition that causes difficulty breathing when sleeping. It also causes snoring, waking often and poor sleep. It makes people feel tired and contributes to poor concentration during the day
• A problem with the heart muscle, caused when extra effort is needed to pump blood.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose obesity, your doctor will typically perform a physical exam and recommend some tests.
• Calculating your BMI ( A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obesity)
• Physical Examination ( Height, Weight, BP…ect)
• Family History
• Blood test ( Thyroid, Glucose…ect)
• Other health problems ( Blood Pressure, Diabetes…ecct)
Treatment for childhood obesity is based on your child’s age and if he or she has other medical conditions. Whether your child has genes causing weight gain or he is obese simply from eating too much unhealthful food, lifestyle changes are key factors in long-term weight loss. Treatment usually includes changes in your child’s eating habits and physical activity level. In certain circumstances, treatment might include medications or weight-loss surgery. This includes dietary improvements and increased physical activity.
In older teenagers with a higher body mass index (BMI), weight loss might become a treatment goal, as the rate of growth slows. Treatment of pediatric obesity is imperative to the overall health and wellness of children and adolescents, in response to which the Endocrine Society. Devise a care plan that emphasizes long-term diet and exercise, family support, and the avoidance of dramatic swings in body weight. The initial treatment goal is usually a modest weight loss — 5% to 10% of your total weigh. The treatment methods that are right for you depend on your obesity severity, your overall health and your willingness to participate in your weight-loss plan.
EAT HEALTHY—STAY HEALTHY