In medical sources, obesity is defined as the accumulation of excess body fat. Obesity can be talked about if the body weight is more than 25% of fat in boys and more than 32% in girls. Although childhood obesity is often defined as a weight-to-height ratio of 20% greater than ideal body weight, the thickness of the skin folds should be considered a more accurate measure of fatness.
Not all chubby babies subsequently turn into obese children, and not all well-fed children grow up into obese adults. However, with age, obesity increases in both men and women, and there is a good chance that obesity, which appeared in early childhood, will accompany you to the grave.
Obesity and obesity cause many problems in a child. In addition to threatening childhood obesity with age, it is a major cause of childhood hypertension, is associated with diabetes mellitus, increases the risk of coronary heart disease, increases pressure on weight-bearing joints, lowers self-esteem, and affects relationships with peers. According to some experts, social and psychological problems are the most serious consequences of obesity.
Causes of childhood obesity
Like obesity in adults, obesity in children is caused by a whole range of reasons, but the most important of them is the discrepancy between the energy produced (calories from food) and wasted (calories burned during basal metabolism and physical activity) by the body. Childhood obesity most often develops as a result of a complex interaction of dietary, psychological, hereditary and physiological factors.
Children whose parents are also overweight are most susceptible to obesity. This phenomenon can be explained by heredity or modeling of parental eating behavior, which indirectly affects the energy balance of the child. Half of the parents of primary school students have never played sports and avoid physical activity.
Childhood Obesity Treatment
Weight loss is rarely the goal of obesity treatment programs for children and adolescents. Rather, they are focused on slowing or stopping weight gain, which should allow the child to achieve normal weight over time.
Early and correct intervention is especially important. There is strong evidence that the eating and physical behavior of adolescents and children is easier to correct than that of adults. There are three forms of intervention:
Adhering to a formal training program or increasing physical activity can help you burn extra calories, increase energy expenditure, and stay fit. Most studies on childhood obesity have shown that exercise does not produce measurable results unless combined with another form of intervention, such as nutritional education or behavioral change.
However, fitness brings additional health benefits. Even if a child’s body fat and body weight do not change after 50 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, such exercise improves blood lipid profiles and blood pressure.
Nutrition and diet
Children are advised not to starve or excessively restrict calorie intake. Such a treatment strategy can not only cause stress, but also negatively affect the child’s growth and perception of “normal” nutrition. Balanced diets with moderate calorie restriction, especially reduced fat levels, have been successfully used to treat childhood obesity. Also, one should not neglect nutritional education. Diet combined with fitness is an effective strategy for treating childhood obesity.
Many behavioral strategies that are used to treat obesity in adults are also successfully used for treating children and adolescents: self-control and keeping a dietary diary,
slowing down the rate of absorption of food, limiting the time and place of food consumption, introducing awards and incentive prizes for the results achieved. Behavior strategies involving the child’s parents are especially effective.
Preventing Childhood Obesity
Obesity is easier to prevent than to cure. Preventing obesity depends a lot on parenting. Mom should breastfeed the baby, be able to determine when the baby is full, and also not rush to introduce solid food into the baby’s diet. As a child grows up, parents should provide proper nutrition, choose low-calorie foods, try to avoid unhealthy junk food, develop physical activity skills, and regulate TV viewing. If preventive measures prove to be ineffective or cannot completely overcome the influence of heredity, the development of the child’s self-esteem and self-confidence should be a priority in education.