Obesity in children occurs when a child is well above the normal or healthy weight for his or her age and height. They become overweight and obese for many reasons including genetic factors, inadequate physical activity, unhealthy eating, spending too much time on sedentary activities and so on.
The obese children are at a risk of many serious conditions and they are listed below. Take a look.
- Bone health problems
- Early heart diseases
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Skin problems
Do you know?
On many occasions, owing to the adoption of western lifestyle, families having overweight/obese children who can be broadly classified into the following categories where:
- Both parents and all the children are obese. Here, the whole family is overweight or obese.
- Both parents are of fairly normal or are slightly overweight but the children are overweight or obese.
- Both parents and one child are normal but the other child is obese.
- One parent and one child are normal and the other parent and the other child are obese.
Insulin (the master hormone) is the cause of the above categories. Most individuals normally associate excess insulin with Diabetes. Very few people actually know that excess insulin also causes obesity, PCOS/PCOD, besides causing inflammation, which shows up as blood pressure, joint pains, heart problems, asthma, autoimmune ailments, etc.
How childhood obesity runs in family?
It is the inheritance of the environment (food and lifestyle) that is transferred from one generation to another and not those of genes. The environment that determines the obesity status starts with ovum i.e., even before conception. Since women are born with a lifetime supply of ova given by their mother, obesity status of a child can be determined by food and lifestyle status of even the grandmother.
If a mother gets less than adequate nutrition, especially in the third trimester of the pregnancy, the fetus will be in a starvation mode and this makes the fetus produce excess insulin to store the food as fat to ward off the perceived famine. Although the excess insulin is produced due to the environment, it is commonly referred to as the ‘thrifty gene’. It works very well as long as the food supply continues to be inadequate outside the womb as well. But unfortunately, the environment in the present day world is the opposite of what the ‘thrifty gene’ is designed for, i.e. abundance of quick digesting food within easy reach.
This mismatch between food availability and insulin production between the womb and the outside world makes children obese.
How can we treat it?
The effects of wrong nutrition in the womb can be corrected by providing the child with food that matches its environment in the womb as early as possible, because fat cells once created cannot be removed. Since this is linked to the food habits of the whole household, only parents can do this with the help of a knowledgeable nutritionist. We have summed up few below. Read on.
- Do not reduce the energy consumption of obese children. Instead, change the composition of the food. Reduce their intake of quick digesting food and increase their intake of complex carbohydrates like fruits and salads.
- Increase the child’s intake of lean protein. It is a food group that provides satiety.
- Include good fats into their nutrition plan. It gives the child a feeling of satisfaction.
- Increase their physical activity. Look at ways to make physical activities a family affair.
- Do not isolate an obese child with healthy foods at the dining table. Eating healthy should be a family affair.
- Make fruits and salads a regular habit for the whole family.
- Do not make a child conscious of obesity. It could well be a start of personality disorders like lowered self-esteem and can translate into more severe issues such as depression in the long run.
Here’s how we can help you:
The best person to determine your child’s health status is the doctor. So, take professional help to give your child good health and a great life.
- We can help identify foods and nutrition environments conducive for weight loss
- Also, we help the child transition smoothly to an ideal nutrition plan for weight loss through carefully designed Scientific Mind and Body Processes.