It was a case that shocked so many in England. In 2004, a young three year old child died due to heart failure that was caused by his extreme obesity. Children as young as four are developing sleep apnea due to excess fat blocking their airways. Essentially they are choking on their own fat. In most majors countries the number of children who are overweight continues to rise. 15% of children in the Unites States happen to be obese or overweight. The World Health Organization now calls obesity and epidemic. The statistics are scary, the risks and the implications are all too real. You however can do something to help your child and avoid the complications from obesity.
It is important to talk about what obesity is. Obesity is defined as having too much excessive body fat. First and foremost if you think your child is overweight or has a problem you need to talk to your pediatrician. They use formulas such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and growth charts to determine if your child is at a healthy weight. Your doctor will also consider your child’s individual needs, find more info.
It also important to talk about why kids are overweight and obese. The problem is really an issue of multiple factors. A huge component of being overweight is poor diet. With many children living in poverty they often eat what is cheap. Cheap food isn’t necessarily good for you or high in nutrients. Children consume a lot of sugar filled sodas, salt and processed food. There are fast food restaurants on every block.
Lack of exercise is also a part of the problem. Often due to budget cuts in our schools the first class to do is PE. Also, sports are now so expensive that many parents can simply not afford to pay for their child to participate. Many children come home and do not go outside to play; instead they are inside being sedative.
Genetics can also play a role in one’s predisposition to be overweight. Children that have parents are heavy or a family history of obesity they are more likely to be overweight. You also again want to check with your doctor because your child may have a rare illness that is causing weight gain.
It is important to be aware of your child’s stress level. Children like adults are affected by stress and traumatic events. Some children may turn to unhealthy mechanisms such as overeating to deal with their emotions.
What you can do to help your child lose weight
First be positive and encouraging. Don’t degrade shame or embarrass a child.
Don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up. Kids pick up on negativity and that is detrimental to weight loss.
Remember it is about small changes that can develop in to a lifestyle.
acknowledge their stress and encourage healthy stress management as well as alternatives to binge eating.
Avoid eating out frequently.
Encourage children to eat vegetables and fruit.
Stock house with healthy snacks instead of junk.
Lead by example. Go out and play with your children. Have some fun. If you eat healthy they will be apt to eat healthy.
Have child eat a healthy breakfast. There is nothing better to jump start your day and weight loss.
Finally, get creative. Let children help you make meals. Simple games like Simon Says can really get kids moving.
Invite the neighbors it does have to be expensive for kids to have a good time.
Losing weight even for children can be a difficult battle. If you however remain positive and have a little fun you and your child will be on your way to better health.