A round, chubby, roly-poly baby evokes the loudest of ‘Awwww’s and ‘Cutieeeeee’s, but imagine the same kid ten years down the lane, looking the same…? Now then, that would be a matter of grave concern.
However, in today’s obesogenic environment, it’s not appalling in the least to say that obesity, specifically childhood obesity is now a pandemic.
India ranks second in the world with our number of obese children, just next to China, and ahead of USA. That it’s a worrying trend, is saying the least.
Family history, psychological factors and poor lifestyle are all responsible for childhood obesity. It’s actually that kids are nowadays ‘eating more and physically playing less’!
A poor diet containing more of fat, empty sugars and less-to-none nutrients, cause kids to gain weight super-fast. Add to this, more of TV and video-games (today, they’re on mobile-phones, vying with their parents), poor food-preparation and convenience store-meals, all add on (literally & figuratively!)
These kids are prone to more health risks than their peers. Apart from the serious ones like Diabetes, heart diseases, asthma, cancer, stroke; the kids also suffer from joint-troubles, sleep disorders, gallbladder issues. Added to these, they develop low self-esteem, depressive tendencies, poor body-image issues later on in life, which mould them into less-than-confident-or-rounded individuals (pun intended).
Children whose parents tend to be on the heavier side or non-active walk of life, too end up later in the same overweight / obese category.
chart above sums up Childhood Obesity and its nature.
Different strategies have been advised in tackling this problem head-on.
- Increase physical activity, by encouraging and joining them in a sport of their interest.
- Find more physical activities, that the entire family can enjoy and bond over, together.
- Limit the screen-time, not just the kid’s, but your too. Afterall, too much of blue-light (from the computers, mobile-phones, video-games etc) aren’t good at any age. 😉
- Join with the kids in preparing healthy, nutritious meals, as kids tend to copy the adults in their life, in most of the things. So preaching on healthy food, while munching that fat-juicy burger won’t help. So, cut back on the fast-food.
Awareness and education at the school and community levels, would help in tackling this issue, as many-a-parent would turn a blind-eye to the kid’s burgeoning weight, dismissing it as health or worse, baby-fat!
So, remember, the next time you meet a child that tends to a much ‘healthier’ side, gently knudge the parents to a healthier lifestyle, not just for their kid, but also their future.