A newly evolved but an epidemic issue, obesity in children is a growing concern in India. According to researches, there are more than 10 million obese children in the country. And this is the second-highest figure in the world, next to China.
Ironically, India is a developing nation which is also combating widespread poverty and nutritional deficiencies issues. However, around 5-8 % of school-going children in India are found to be obese. And with this pace, over 25 million kids in India will be obese by 2030.
What causes obesity in children?
When the calories consumed by the children are not balanced by the physical activity or energy spent, it causes weight gain and eventually leads to obesity. Environmental influence plays a huge role in childhood obesity.
Change in diet, overconsumption of junk or high sugary foods and a lifestyle of low or NO physical activity together contribute to the problem of childhood obesity. Besides, genetic factors are also one of the causes of obesity in children.
Some of the major causes of obesity in children are:
High consumption of sugary food and beverages
High consumption of junk food
Consumption of portion size in one meal
Lack of physical activity
What are the ill effects of being overweight in children?
Obesity in children is a matter of concern. It is not something to be left unattended. Obesity has serious health implications for both adults and kids. Obesity increases the risks of many diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc.
Besides, obese children may also experience psychological issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, shyness and inability to connect with the world around.
How to prevent obesity in children?
Being one of the most serious health challenges in the children of the 21st century, it is of vital importance to prevent the disease and treat it the right way to avoid major health complications in future.
Although treating obesity in kids is difficult, there are some simple yet proven strategies to prevent childhood obesity:
Increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Reduce screen time especially during mealtime. Watching TV while eating may cause overeating. Also, this is the time when TV commercials for fast food are broadcasted.
Avoid giving kids sugar and related food items like sweetened drinks.
Encourage physical activity. It is important to facilitate physical activity in small children and 60 minutes of daily vigorous physical activity in older children.
Prevention of childhood obesity is vital because it is near impossible to get children to lose weight and maintain it. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle should start from the pre-conception time itself and be continued through all stages of childhood.