CHILD OBESITY AND NUTRITION

CHILD OBESITY AND NUTRITION

Child obesity is one of the major problems nowadays. This is due to developing technology and addiction to smartphones and TV shows. Poor nutrition in children can lead to a wide variety of problems like type 2 diabetes, heart diseases or fatty liver. Initiating good eating habits is very necessary for children. As children are in the golden period of growth and development, nutrition becomes very essential for proper development. Kids in this age need good nutrition and not empty calories from junk foods and fast foods. Obesity in children may result in obesity in adulthood.

Child Obesity

Obesity is thought of as excess calorie and fat intake, but it is also a result of reduced physical activity. Many adults in many countries are obese and overweight. The intervention taken up to change this is majorly focused on diet and exercise. But not everyone is able to follow this as they are addicted to what they have been doing, like overeating or snacking too much on junk. Its a world wide issue, and in populated countries like China, Pakistan and India it’s growing very fast. As per the best nutritionist in Mumbai, once obesity is established it is very difficult to get them back on track by reducing their weight. The intervention of this should start from childhood. Focusing on children by diet, physical activity and environment may help in preventing obesity in adulthood.

Eating Behavior of Child

One of the researches states that making a change in the eating behavior of the child can be influenced by changing the families eating lifestyle. This will show a result gradually and will help in preventing teenage obesity and also obesity in adulthood. Childhood obesity also affects a child’s mental, emotional, psychological state and hurts their self-esteem. It also affects their academic performance and leads to low quality of life. They are often left out and bullied. The earlier we focus on improving their state of well-being the better they get with the mental, emotional and psychological state and also it will prevent the risk of obesity in adulthood as well.

Nutritional Counseling

The most important part in nutritional counseling is not just counseling the parents on child’s nutrition but focusing on speaking to the child on basis of his/her nutrition. The better a nutrition counseller can make the child understand on the importance of nutrition in their life and child will be more acceptable to follow and comply to the nutritional plan better.

Latest Study on Child Obesity

Another study conducted about childhood obesity had a great insight about what is the reason of childhood obesity in children and why is the rate going high year by year. According to the best nutritionists, the research stated that there are certain factors like easy availability of junk foods, consumption of processed foods than the natural prepared home cooked foods, inability of managing the food intakes in terms of energy, new standards of living in the families, foods that are served or kept as snacks at home, maternal and post pregnancy nutrition.

These factors have made it difficult for children to keep their hands of junk food because it is cheap and easily available. The results of the study showed that the obesity in girls at younger ages was higher compared to boys. The reason being is skipping of meals mainly breakfast and having long gaps in meals, consuming extra snacks, eating food outside at restaurants and irregular eating patterns. This was found to be one of the main reasons for the prevalence of obesity and overweight children.

Prevalence of Obesity

Overall, the prevalence of obesity was in children who do not consume green leafy vegetables or fruits, daily consumption of cold drinks and snacks like chips and fried foods, consumption of bakery products like buns etc. Also sedentary lifestyle by playing video games and lack of physical activity was correlated with obesity and being overweight.

WHO Guidelines to Take Measurements

The guidelines suggested by WHO to take measurements of the child are head circumference, height, weight for children under the age of 2. You can check these guidelines here. If the results received are in 98th percentile the likelihood of these children being obese is very high. Growth charts are the best way to indicate the parameters of children for mentioning whether a child is underweight, in a healthy weight, overweight or in obese category and then the measures are taken to work towards their betterment. In athletes or children involved in sports may have parameters that are not in normal range because of their activity rate and eating pattern, so the measurements of muscle and fat tissue also needs to be taken into consideration to state that they are overweight or not. This will also differ in terms of sex and ethnicity.

A nutritionist or a dietitian can help you manage the condition of the child if he/ she are obese or overweight. A structured diet chart will be planned and guidelines (may be related to any kind of physical activity) will be provided as to go about the diet plan with the amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fat calculated. The diet chart when followed rigidly definitely shows a great result and the condition will be improved and also a change in the eating patterns and behavior will be seen. This is one of the best approaches towards reduction in prevalence of obesity in children.

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