According to current conventional definitions, a child is obese if they have a body mass index, also known as BMI, greater than 95%. On the other hand, a child with a body mass index greater than 85% is overweight.
According to CDC statistics, the prevalence of obesity among two to five-year-old children is 12.7 percent, while it is 20.7 percent among six to eleven-year-olds.
Although chubby kids look cute and charming, parents and guardians must not overlook their health. Being obese at a young age is alarming as it could lead to chronic diseases similar to what adults experience. Childhood obesity can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
An overweight or obese child has consequences beyond the child’s physical well-being. Being overweight or obese can also lead to depression and low self-esteem in children as they grow as adolescents.
Medical experts say that a child’s weight is also strongly linked to their parents’ genetics. Research from the University of Sussex states that 35-40% of a kid’s body mass index is inherited from their parents.
According to the CDC, the rate of obesity among grownups was 41.9 percent in 2020. Just imagine the number of kids related to this identified group of adults. This also implies that kids who are obese will most likely grow up as obese adults as well.
Regarding genetics, parents with bad eating habits could also affect the child’s eating habits. Their eating habits as a family can be a major factor in determining whether or not a child will maintain a healthy weight. When compared to parents of a healthy weight, individuals who are overweight parents may have a lower level of concern regarding the likelihood that their children will also be overweight.
Too much screen time
Computers, smartphones, and a variety of other electronic devices are readily available on the market in this day and age. This is why today’s children spend more time playing games on their electronic devices inside rather than being physically active.
We know that no movement is involved in watching videos or playing games on digital devices. Children miss out on valuable opportunities to be active when they stay inside with their electronic devices for too long rather than going outside to play or discovering more about their surroundings. If you engage in less physical activity, you won’t just burn fewer calories; your metabolic rate will also slow down as a result.
It is common practice to take advantage of television viewing or movie time by snacking and chugging a few soft drinks. Because using screens is an indulgent activity, there are more chances for kids to reach for treats while they are totally immersed in using their screens. This increases the likelihood that children will become overweight. The kinds of snacks that children adore typically have a high potential for addiction, a high-calorie count, and a low nutrient density.
Children are constantly engaged with their electronic devices, and advertisements relating to food are likely to be seen. According to research compiled by the National Library of Medicine, children who were exposed to advertisements for various types of food consumed an additional 45% of the food being advertised.
Also, there are times when spending too much time on their gadgets will compromise a child’s sleep time. Poor sleep quality is another factor in slowing metabolism, leading to weight gain and obesity.
Parents can do more than just take away screens to reduce screen time usage. Instead parents can spend more quality time with their children, take them out places like to the fair or shopping, or get them involved in sports and outdoor activities.
Unhealthy choices of food
Fast-food chains and junk food manufacturers often use the digital space for advertising their products. As a result, these businesses reach young audiences and affect their product preferences. It is undeniable that kids are fond of junk food not only because of how good it can be but also because these brands market themselves with attention-grabbing advertising materials.
Increased consumption of foods high in energy density, low in nutrients, and high in sugar and unhealthy fat, combined with a decrease in physical activity among children, has resulted in high rates of childhood obesity.
According to CBS News, a study of 6,212 children found that nearly one-third of children in the United States between ages 4 to 19 eat fast food, which is likely to add six pounds per child per year and increase the risk of obesity.
Other than consuming junk food, eating excessively and not improving their eating habits could possibly lead to obesity.
If a child continues with unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise, they could develop serious health risks shortly. Here are the common health conditions that kids may develop because of obesity.
Consuming foods with a high fat and salt content may cause an increase in both cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which obese people usually possess. Stroke and heart attack are two of the potential complications that can arise from heart disease.
They say that diabetes is common in adults. Unfortunately, kids are not an exception to this health condition. Type 2 Diabetes is a health risk in which your body cannot metabolize glucose appropriately. Eye diseases, nerve damage, and kidney dysfunction are all possible complications of diabetes.
Kids who are overweight and obese are most likely to develop diabetes.
The risk of developing cancer is increased in people who are obese and overweight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing 13 types, including colon, breast, endometrium, kidney, and esophageal cancer.
Extra weight carried around the abdomen and chest may cause the lungs to become compressed, making it more difficult to breathe. Inflammatory substances are also produced by fat tissue, which can hinder lung function and contribute to the development of asthma.
There is a significant link between obesity and the onset of asthma, worsening asthma attacks, and poor asthma regulation. Obesity also makes it more difficult to manage asthma.
As parents and guardians, we must know how to influence the kids in our home to have healthy eating habits to avoid the risks of childhood obesity. Here are the things that you can do:
• Practice a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re a parent struggling to overcome obesity or being overweight, it’s best to be an example to your kids. Children can imitate and adapt to what they see and what the people around them do.
Start by slowly switching to healthier alternatives such as lean meat, fruits, and vegetables. We understand that switching and changing your diet instantly is effective, so it’s best to take slow steps every day until you learn to adapt to a better and healthier lifestyle.
• Limit screen time.
Kids have this tendency to rely on their entertainment on their smartphones, gadgets, computers, and television. To change this, start by limiting their daily screen time. It is advisable to have non-educational screen time for no more than one hour daily.
As parents, we should also show them that we are practicing this by not using our phones around them, especially during meals.
• Start conversations about being healthy.
Although kids will not fully understand the importance of our health, eating habits, and lifestyle, it’s best to instill their minds with helpful and simple information that could make them health conscious.
Aside from talking it out to them, introduce them to books or materials about the importance of being healthy early. You may not see an instant improvement in their habits, but this could positively affect them and also something that they could adapt as they grow.
If you have questions about your children’s weight our providers would be happy to discuss them with you in our offices.