Obesity is another way to describe over-nutrition. This means that people accumulate too much fat in their tissue. Unfortunately, obesity affects all of us, including children. It is not a disease in itself, but it can lead to various diseases, many of which are fatal. It is vital, therefore, that children in particular have to prevent becoming obese, so that they can lead a healthy, long life.
Behaviors that Can Lead to Childhood Obesity
Children becoming obese is almost always down to learn behaviors from their parents. It has been documented that the following factors can be of influence:
- Uncritically offering children a bottle to stop them from crying. This leads to an unhealthy relationship with food, one in which food and emotional comfort are linked.
- Introducing high calorie foods to children at a young age.
- Genes, although this is up for debate. Children of obese parents are known to be more likely to become obese themselves. However, by and large, this is due to the fact that they pick up their parents’ habits, not because their genes predispose them to become obese.
- Drinking too much fruit juice, particularly in preschool children.
- Consuming too many high energy foods.
- Not exercising enough and leading a sedentary lifestyle.
- A low metabolic rate, generally caused by the above.
Obesity has many complications. This is why Manhattan weight loss surgery is now increasingly often provided to the young, as it is hoped that this will avoid some of the more serious complications. They include:
- Psychological and social difficulties and stress.
- Bullying, exclusion from activities and different treatment from teachers.
- Sleep apnea, whereby children stop breathing. This happens in around 7% of obese children and has been shown to directly affect how well they can participate in academic performances.
- NIDDM, which is a form of diabetes.
- High cholesterol levels.
- Becoming an obese adult.
- Pickwickian syndrome, which is very rare but can lead to cardiorespiratory problems and hypoventilation.
How to Prevent and Treat Childhood Obesity
It is incredibly important to modify behavior at an as young an age as possible to avoid children from becoming obese. To do so:
- Children should be fed on demand for the first few days after birth.
- Children should be fed only when they look hungry in their first year.
- Feeding times should not be based on the clock.
- Children should learn to eat when they are hungry.
If it is established that a child is obese, it is vital that the child and their family work together in order to come up with a plan to not only reduce the weight, but ensure it stays off as well. While it is not recommended to have weight loss surgery in children, it is now becoming increasingly popular as a last resort option. Children should not be placed on low-calorie diets, however, as this may slow down their growth and development.
In order to be successful in helping a child lose weight, you should look at:
- The caloric content of a diet.
- The amount and type of exercise the child receives.
- Changing the child’s behavior.
- Involving the family in therapy.