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Child obesity; How to protect children from it

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Child obesity

Child obesity is a condition in which the child’s body store unhealthy fat, which can cause unhealthy effects on the child’s health and career. Unfortunately, obesity in children is increasing day by day. Alone in the US, the one-third child is obese, and these numbers are boosting very fast. (1)

A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research paper found that childhood obesity in the US has increased the medical costs by $1354 a year (in 2013 dollars rate).

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Childhood obesity is a serious threat to child health. Some people consider this healthy for children, but this excess body fat can create many health and social problems. This modern world demands less physical activity and provides more food sources. That is one of the reasons for the increasing rate of obesity in children. (2)

Obesity symptoms

Child obesity; How to protect children from it
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BMI is used to determine Obesity in children of age two years or older. To determine the BMI, body weight and height measurements are used. A child with a BMI equal to or greater than the 95th percentile is considered obese.

It is impossible to put every heavyweight child into an obese or overweight category because some kids have oversized body frames and muscles.

High BMI can only help find any weight problem, but BMI calculation does not make any difference between fat and lean muscles. That is why the US preventive task force has reported that not every child with a high BMI calculation is required to lose weight.

Causes

Lack of physical activities and consumption of high calories food is the leading cause of child obesity. Genetics and other health issues can also contribute to childhood obesity.

Risk factors

Unhealthy foods

One of the main reasons for child obesity is unhealthy food. Advertisements of unhealthy foods are on peak these days in both developed and underdeveloped countries. That is why fast foods, junk foods, like pizza, soft drinks, burgers, ice cream, and doughnuts are all broadly available in the market.

Due to the excellent feeling taste of these foods, children like to eat them in large quantities. Often flavours of unhealthy foods feel good as compared to healthy foods. That is the big reason for overeating habits in children and also in adults. If you want to keep Obesity away from your children, you need to keep children away from these foods.

Lack of physical activities

Lack of physical activities is also the reason for Obesity in children. In this modern world, just like other people’s children are also becoming lazy.

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Most children spend time using modern technology. They watch too much television, use mobiles, and don’t take part in physical activities. That habit can cost badly. Physical activities are perfect for a healthy weight. Without taking part in physical activities, a child’s body will not burn calories. Then, as a result, the body starts storing these calories as fat, and the child can become obese.

Genetics

Genes also play an important role in Obesity. Obesity can run in genes. Most obese children have obese parents. One study has found that if both parents are obese, then the chances of getting obese for their children can increase by 80 percent. Six to eight-five percentage of Obesity in people has a link with genetics. diabetes. (3)

Psychological issues

Psychological issues also cause child obesity. With depression and anxiety, children can get eating disorders, and they can make it a habit of eating unhealthy junk food that can make them overweight, and they will get obese.

With psychological issues, children can avoid taking part in physical activities. That can also cause Obesity because physical activities are essential for a child’s health.

Physical activities can help them burn more calories, and with these exercises, they will not get obese. But when they do not take part in any physical activities, then they will become obese. (4)

Poor sleep

Obesity is associated with many health problems. Some studies have shown that poor sleep can clear the path to Obesity. Poor sleep can cause hormonal imbalance that can cause Obesity. (5)

Drugs side effects

Many drug side effects can contribute to weight gain. This drug-induced weight gain can cause or increase the chance of Obesity in children. Many drugs, like antipsychotics drugs, produce side effects that can make the child obese.

Complications

Here is how Obesity can affect your child health;

Cause diabetes

Obesity can highly increase the risks of diabetes in children. Most health experts believed that Obesity could increase 80 to 85 percent of the risks of developing type 2 diabetes in children.

A recent study has found that obese persons are more likely to get diabetes in their life as compared to people with normal weight. Diabetes can cause many problems. This disease is the root of many diseases. Diabetes can make the child’s health worse and can put them in a critical situation. Lifelong care and treatment are required for this disease. (6)

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Cause blood pressure problems

High blood pressure is widespread in obese people, and it included children also. Obesity can cause high blood pressure in children. High fat on the body will force the heart to work harder to pump blood through the body. This extra effort can strain a person’s arteries, and the risks of getting high blood pressure or hypertension will increase.

High blood pressure is also called a silent killer with no early symptoms. With high blood pressure child will be at serious risk. This disease also required lifetime attention and treatment. (7)

Heart diseases

Nobody wants to get heart disease, and that is the reality. Obesity can make your child’s health worse by contributing to causing heart diseases. An obese child is more at risk of developing heart diseases as compared to normal. Obesity can lead to structural and functional changes in the heart, which can have dangerous results.

Due to these changes, the risks of heart failure or sudden cardiac events can increase. The obese person often has bad high cholesterol and low good cholesterol level. It can increase the risks of heart diseases like heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. (8)

Studies have found that obese children have carotid arteries that are prematurely aged and have an abnormal cholesterol level. Moreover, with high blood pressure and diabetes, the risks of heart diseases can increase many times. (9)

Cause sleep problems

Studies have shown that obese children are more likely to get sleep problems like insomnia, just like other obese people. Sleep apnea is prevalent in obese people. Obese children can also get sleep apnea and other sleep problems.

Without proper treatment of sleep apnea, your child may become vulnerable to many life-threatening diseases. (10)

Cancer risks

Obesity can increase the risks of many types of cancer. The international agency for research on cancer(IARC) has identified 13 different cancers associated with Obesity. In 2016, 30-35 per cent of the people from the world who died from cancers were obese.

In the US alone, 15 to 20 per cent of the people who died from cancers were obese. So Obesity can put your child in danger by contributing to developing cancer. (11) (12) (13)

Liver disease

Obesity can affect a child’s liver badly. High fat in the liver can cause fatty liver disease. This disease leads to chronic inflammation and scarring of the liver. A fatty liver can damage a child’s liver, and it can lead to liver failure in severe cases. (14)

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Reason for early puberty

Obesity has a link with early puberty in children. Studies have shown that a rapid increase in weight can cause early puberty in children. Obesity can increase the 80 percent chance of early puberty in girls before the age of 9. Girls who are obese or have no habit of physical activities are more likely to get physically mature earlier. (15)

Can cause an eating disorder

Obese children often have abnormal eating habits. Obese children often have eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, which are mental disorders. This disorder can cause or worsen depression and anxiety in children. With these disorders, the child-eating habits can become unhealthy, and he can get more problems. (16)

Reason for skin infections

Early Obesity can cause different types of skin infections in children. The obese child can face skin problems like heat rash, fungal infection, and acne. (17)

Breathing problems

Obesity can cause breathing problems in children. Obesity can increase the risk of asthma in children. Excess fat put pressure on the chest that makes it difficult for an obese person to breathe. That is why most obese peoples have breathing problems. (18)

Poor physical performance

Obese children often show abysmal performance in physical games. They usually left behind in physical performance as compared to normal children. That is why they don’t take part in physical activities. Most of their fellows don’t invite them to sports games due to their performance and size.

Un attractive shape

Everyone likes an attractive body. A person with a beautiful body can take many benefits from society. An obese person’s body shape is not as pretty as an average person’s shape. That applies to the child body as well. Fat children face discrimination from society due to the wrong body shape. 

Many children lose many good opportunities in their life due to their shape.

Increases Mortality rate

Most obese children can’t get rid of Obesity, and they remain obese in whole life. Blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, liver diseases, breathing problems, and many other dangerous diseases link to Obesity. Moreover, most obese children remain obese in their whole life. With so many diseases associated with child obesity, their mortality rate can increase during adulthood. (19)

Bad behaviour of people

Obese children are often tortured physically and mentally by society. 

They are bullied by people due to their weight and body shape, especially at school by their fellows. That can affect their studies and career. 

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Obese children also become victims of discrimination and harassment in their own families. Obesity can make the child patient with depression and anxiety.

Prevention

With healthy foods

If you are a parent of a child, don’t let your child make it a habit of eating unhealthy foods. By keeping an eye on what your child eats, where he spends on food, and checking what they eat, you can reduce the chances of Obesity for the child. Make healthy foods in your house. Encourage them to eat healthy foods.

Parents also need to eat healthy foods because their children will also eat them automatically and make it a habit when they eat unhealthy foods.

Regular exercise

Child obesity; How to protect children from it
image by eommina pixabay

Regular exercise is best in preventing obesity. When a child takes part in physical activities, then he will burn excess calories. If parents want to encourage their children to participate in physical activities, they must also do some physical activity.

It may enable the child to participate in physical activities with total effort. Parents should also encourage their children to take part in school physical activities. Physical activities at school will help the child to get fit. By taking part in physical activities with his friends, a child will feel happier and like physical activities.

Good sleep

When the child gets good and proper sleep, it will become easy for him to stay active, and he will take part in physical games with more courage. Inadequate sleep can make him tired and ill. With good sleep, he will get fit and healthy. When he gets good sleep, the risks of hormone imbalance will decrease, and his chances of getting obese will decrease.

Visit doctor

Taking the child for a health checkup at least once a month will be best for your child’s health. The doctor will check the height and weight of the kid, and then the doctor will calculate the kid’s BMI.

The doctor will check if there is any significant change. If there is a considerable increase in your child’s BMI percentile from the last checkup, then your child will be at a high risk of becoming overweight or obese. To face this problem, always respect the doctor’s advice and do what the doctor says. Doctor advice is best for your child’s health.

Bottom line

Obesity is the leading problem in the modern world. It creates many problems. Many factors contribute to it. 

And unhealthy foods and lazy life are significant contributors. Healthy foods and physical activities can reduce its risks.

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Citations
  1. One-Third of U.S. Children Found to Be Overweight or Obese – https://www.edweek.org/leadership/one-third-of-u-s-children-found-to-be-overweight-or-obese/2013/04#:~:text=About one-third of U.S.,for Child and Adolescent Health .
  2. THE MEDICAL CARE COSTS OF YOUTH OBESITY: AN INSTRUMENTAL VARIABLES APPROACH – https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w23682/w23682.pdf
  3. Associations of Six Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Obesity-Related Genes With BMI and Risk of Obesity in Chinese Children – https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/59/12/3085.short
  4. Obesity, Shame, and Depression in School-Aged Children: A Population-Based Study – https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/3/e389.short
  5. Obesity and sleep disturbances: Meaningful sub-typing of obesity – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13813450802521507
  6. Obesity and Diabetes in the Developing World — A Growing Challenge – https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmp068177
  7. Obesity and blood pressure—results from the examination of 2365 schoolchildren in Germany – https://www.nature.com/articles/0802462
  8. Outcomes: Updated Evidence from Meta-analysis Studies – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11886-020-1273-y
  9. Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Beginning in Childhood – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812791/
  10. Obesity and sleep disturbances: Meaningful sub-typing of obesity – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13813450802521507
  11. Academic – https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/86/3/843S/4649241?login=true
  12. Cancer.gov – https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics
  13. NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3773450/
  14. NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/
  15. NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664767/
  16. NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073367/
  17. PUBMED – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24329996/
  18. PUBMED – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19700055/
  19. Journals Plos – https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003078

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Author

Sarfraz
Sarfraz
Sarfraz is a 26-year-old writer. He loves to read and write. These are his best hobbies. Sarfraz is an experienced nutritionist & fitness trainer. Mostly he writes on health or fitness-related topics. His best friend is his brother Dr. Omer (MBBS) who reviews his articles. HERE IS EMAIL If you want to contact him: sarfraz@address4health.com
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