Obesity in Children
How risky is childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop non communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. It can be a risk factor for developing sleep apnea, asthma, hormonal imbalances, and pcos in later life. Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable. Prevention of childhood obesity therefore needs high priority.
According to the Gulf news over 36 per cent of children in the UAE are obese.
WHO statistics reveal that during 2014-2015, 15.1% of school students in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi were obese, while 16.7% of them were overweight. A related study also revealed that only 27% of students engaged in 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Causes for the Obesity in children
Unhealthy eating habits: Due to unavailability of parents because of working hours children are spending most of time with the external caregiver who are not taking care of the food categories and feeding energy-dense foods that are high in fat causing obesity in children
Sedentary nature of forms of work: Due to sedentary lifestyle and eating habits as per the parents children tend to gain more weight
Stressful life events or changes in parents life: Stressful events such as separation, divorce, moves, deaths etc can negatively impact the child’s health
Lack of physical activity: Computers, television, and video games conspire to keep kids inside and sedentary, which means they burn fewer calories and are more likely to gain weight
Media: kids watch TV or other alternative entertainments. Media plays an important role in terms of selection of food and beverages by kids; which may add on unhealthy processed food in their diets.
What can be done to fight the childhood obesity?
Some of the recommendations are:
1. Apt consumption of seasonal available fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains such as brown rice whole -wheat pasta, whole -grain breads and nuts.
2. Limit energy intake from total unhealthy meal like fast food (Burger, Pizza etc) to a healthy meal like low-fat dairy products including skim milk, low-fat plain yogurt, and low-fat cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables ,lean proteins such as chicken and fish
3. Parents need to be more stringent and careful with their children in giving healthy meals for their betterment. Parents adopting themselves healthy eating habits can lead to positive effects with their kids.
4. Implementing comprehensive programs like swimming, horse-riding, running etc under the supervision of parents to promote health and physical activity for school-aged children.