Chubby cheeks and dimple chin may be adorable in children and babies, but when a chubby child becomes obese, then it is a cause of concern. Babies are usually chubby, but as they grow and become more active and mobile, they shed their chubbiness to become slimmer. If your child is not getting slimmer but gaining weight at an alarming rate and is becoming sedentary and less energetic, then your child may be on the road to childhood obesity.
Causes of obesity
A combination of factors can lead to obesity in children and the same factors affect each child differently. The common factors that can lead to obesity in children are:
A diet rich in high calorie foods including fast foods, baked foods, unhealthy snacks, sweets, juices and soft drinks lead to excess calories that are stored as fat. This will result in rapid weight gain.
Children burn out calories when they engage in play and brisk activity. With changing lifestyles children spend more time in front of a television or gadgets. Lack of activity will lead to increase weight as not enough calories are burnt.
A family with weight issues increases the risk of obesity in children. Many families with obesity problems do not make healthy lifestyle choices and this influences the child to follow in their footsteps, which increasing the risk further.
Children like adults, tend to overeat when they are stressed. Some tend to overeat when bored. If unhealthy snacks are readily available, then this will heighten the problem of obesity.
Certain medications can also increase the risk of obesity.
Complications due to obesity
Whatever the cause, obesity has some serious effects on the mind and body of a child. The complications of childhood obesity include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Bone and joint problems
- Breathing problems
- Liver disease
- Social problems such as being bullied or teased
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of confidence
Childhood obesity can be prevented by taking a few simple steps.
Help your children make healthy food choices. Avoid junk food and never give them as rewards. Keep your home stocked with healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, popcorn, whole grain cereal etc. Ensure that your child gets enough sleep and exercise.
Keep track of your child’s heath and development. If you think that your child is gaining weight fast and may have an obesity problem, consult our paediatrician for a check-up.