Causes of Childhood Obesity & How to Treat Childhood Obesity » Tackling Childhood obesity

Causes of Childhood Obesity & How to Treat Childhood Obesity » Tackling Childhood obesity

Causes of Childhood Obesity & How to Treat Childhood Obesity » Tackling Childhood obesityChildhood obesity refers to a condition in which the excess body fat negatively affects a child’s health and consequently his well being. This is a serious public health concern due to the rising levels of childhood obesity. As methods of measuring body fat are difficult, the diagnostic tool for measuring obesity is the Body Mass Index or BMI.

BMI, is assessed by the weight in kg divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2).A BMI over 25 kg/m2 is considered to be overweight and a BMI of above 30 is considered to be obese .To avoid stigmatizing the children the term overweight is generally used for obese children.

Childhood obesity can lead to life threatening conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, liver disease among many others. Obese children have potentialities of becoming obese adults. Obesity during adolescence has been found to increase mortality rates in adulthood.

Eating habits in children is one of the major factors in identifying causes of obesity. Calorie rich foods are available to children easily. Consumption of sugar laden soft drinks can contribute to childhood obesity. Food vending machines are in areas frequently by children. Eating at fast food restaurants is a fashion trend among youngsters today.

Physical inactivity has been isolated as one of the primary causes of childhood obesity. Given the sedentary lifestyles of today children hardly spend time outdoors. They are primarily caught up in battling virtual armies on play stations or swotting on assignments. Going out with friends generally centers around places of food, like the mall.

Children’s food choices are often influenced by family meals. From early life the infant is geared to certain things that the family has as staples. Meal choices later in life can morph into comfort foods .These provide for warm refuge in childhood memories but are uncompromising in calories.

Polymorphism in various genes controlling appetite and metabolism can predispose a child to obesity. Medical illnesses like Cushing Syndrome (a condition in which the body contains excess amonts of cortisol) and hypothyroidism also may lead to childhood obesity.

Emotional factors too intrude in this as low self esteem can cause a child to seek refuge in food.
It becomes a vicious circle, hard to break. Feelings of depression can cause a child to overeat. Sudden environment changes like changing of a peer group or changing a school may aggravate the situation.

Addressing the key factors can help the child. Caution is the watchword for adults as they are the decision makers in meal choices. Watching out for warning signs is also important. Parents can provide succor to the child and help in his emotional distress.”The morning shows the day “so let’s make it a brighter tomorrow.

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