Childhood obesity is an important health problem today which affect both children and adolescents. Today’s children take more calory and have less physical activity than previous generations. Children save their energy in their body instead of using for outside games, sport, walking in nature etc. By this lifestyle, children become obese and this an important health problem. Obesity affects their heart, vessels, immune system and psychology same as adults. More importantly obesity cause loss of confidence and similar mental problems in children.
Most of the children are living in cities, they are using school bus and avoid walking to anywhere. At the same time parents don’t let the children to play outside because of safety concerns or let them to spend their time watching tv at home, playing electronic games,or going to shopping malls or fast food restaurants. Children eat unhealthy fast-food in these places without doing any physical activity.
Children who watch 5 hours tv a day, have 4 times obesity risk than the children who watch tv 2 hours or less. The only reason is not low physical activity; also so many unhealthy fast food ads cause eating these kind of foods so much. Another reason of childhood obesity is to avoid cooking at home and ordering fast food from restaurants.
Obesity may cause so many health problems in children like; type 2 diabetes, and heart problems because of high cholesterol and blood pressure. Also obese children may have stress because other children may be insulting to them about their appearance.
How can you help your obese child?
- Stop fast food ordering, cook your own healthy meal at home for your child and try to follow what your child is eating during the day
- Don’t force your child to make a special diet just prepare healthy food yourself and try to prevent your child from eating fast food and other unhealthy products.
- Also follow what your child is drinking. Today, children are drinking so many soda, coke, pepsi, fruit juice concentrate (containing HFCS; high fructose corn syrup), etc. Try to encourage them to drink more water. They may drink a glass of fresh fruit juice a day and also yoghurt drink- ayran milk, kefir-kephir are other healthy beverage that children can drink during the day.
- Don’t allow them to drink tea based beverages, ice tea, etc. because of the high glucose- HFCS level inside.
- Tell the principles of healthy eating to children, spend time in kitchen with them. Let them help you in kitchen for exp. for preparing the salad.
- Encourage children to eat more vegetables, legumes and yoghurt.
- Stop fast food ordering to home, find a way to keep your child away from pizza, hamburger, etc.
- Prepare your meals smaller, eat less but more healthy food.
- Follow what your child eat at school, try to force and help school canteen to prepare healthy foods for children.
- Children love snacks, try to encourage them to eat healthy, low-calorie and low-salt snacks.They can eat walnuts, almond, hazelnuts as a snack.
- Help your children about being active, buy and gift them a gym or fitness center membership. Request their help for gardening.
- Younger children than 14 should go to pediatrician if they have obesity problem, doctor may request a dietitian if necessary.
- Never let your children to use any weight loss drugs, diet pills even they are herbal.
- Be careful about young girls to protect them from eating disorders; bulimia and anorexia.
- Never forget that most effective solution of obesity in children is more physical activity and eating healthy foods.