How to Prevent and Cure Obesity in Children
You want your children to be not obese. I will first tell you about the causes of obesity in children and then about the natural tips to prevent and cure obesity in them.
Causes of Obesity in children: Your body stores unused calories (energy) as body fat. So if you consume more calories than needed, you tend to gain weight. You need to burn (use) more calories than what you consume (eat) to keep your weight under control. If you consume just 100 kilo calories (equivalent to 8 ounces of soft drink) more than your every day’s requirement, you tend to gain 4.5 kilograms weight over one year. Following are the main factors that cause imbalance between calorie intake and its consumption, which lead to obesity in children.
1.Genetic factors – First cause of Obesity in children: A child with an obese parent, brother or sister is more likely to become obese. Obesity tends to run in a family.
2. Eating habits of your child – Second cause of Obesity in children:
(i) When a child eats more calories than he or she consumes.
(ii) Unhealthy eating habits which include eating while watching television or doing homework, drinking sodas or eating when not hungry.
(iii) The children and teenagers’ likings have shifted away from healthy foods (such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits) to fast foods, junk foods, processed snack foods, energy and sugary drinks. These foods are high in fat and/or calories and low in nutrients.
3. Less physical activities of your child – Third cause of obesity in children:
(i) Now, the children and teenagers spend more and more time in watching television every day. This activity consumes very little energy rather it contributes to snacking and sipping.
(ii) The other popular activities amongst children and teenagers are computers and video games which lead to sedentary (inactive) lifestyle.
(iii) Decreasing trend of physical activities in schools.
(iv) Certain medical conditions can cause pediatric obesity but these are rare. These include hormone or other chemical imbalances and inherited metabolism disorders.
4. Overweight parents – Fourth cause of obesity in children: Overweight parents are less likely to be concerned about their children being overweight than the parents who maintain healthy weight.
Natural tips to prevent and cure obesity in children:
The foundations for weight control of your child lies on two cornerstones, namely, diet management and physical activity. You must change your own and your child’s habits to prevent and cure obesity in your child. The sooner you change, the better.
1. Diet Management – Te prevent and cure obesity in your chidren:
(i) The first you have to educate yourself and your child about your child’s nutritional requirements.
(ii) Don’t force your child as to what he or she should eat. Educate them and involve them in choosing what they eat and how much.
(iii) Include variety of foods in your child’s diet, such as, natural sweets, fresh fruit. Even foods high in fat and calories have a place in a healthy diet but as long as they are eaten occasionally and in moderate quantity. But you need to be familiar with the appropriate serving sizes.
(iv) Educate your children to eat slowly and chew the food at least thirty times. It takes twenty minutes for the brain to register that you have eaten enough and if your child eat slowly he or she can stop eating when they are full.
(v) It is good habit to have pleasant conversation while eating.
(vi) Do not prohibit snacks. A planned snack is a part of healthy diet. On the other hand continuous snacking leads to weight gain. It is a good idea to offer a nutritious and tasty snack to your child after school. This will provide the needed energy to your child for doing homework and play until supper.
(vii) Avoid having too many high fat and/or calorie foods in house.
(viii) Avoid watching television during meal times, as your child will tend to eat more.
2. Manage Type of meals and snacks – To prevent and cure obesity in your children:
(i) Include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Offer to your child a variety of whole grain bread, pasta, rice, vegetables and fruits (of different color green, red, yellow, orange, brown)
(ii) Have two or three servings of low-fat (1% milk) or nonfat (skim) dairy products every day. Take the help of dietician to select items and serving size depending upon your child’s physical factors and age.
(iii) Include two to three servings of foods from the meat and beans group, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and beans.
(a) Avoid fried foods.
(b) Trim all fat off meat and remove skin from poultry.
(c) Switch to low-fat (1% milk) or nonfat (skim) dairy products.
(d) Low-fat or nonfat yogurt or cheese.
(e) Do not limit fat intake for children younger than two years of age. However, avoid deep-fried foods at such young ages.
3. Physical Activities – To prevent and cure obesity in your children:
(i) Firstly you try to limit the amount of time your child spends watching television, sitting at computer, or playing video games. These activities not only burn a few calories but urge your children to indulge in snacking and drinking.
(ii) Motivate your children to participate in sports activities in schools and community.
(iii) Do not compel your children to participate in activities which they dislike or about which they feel embarrassing or uncomfortable in doing.
(iv) Let your child do different physical activities in order to find which he or she enjoys most.
(v) Your child should do continuous, moderately energetic activities for at least 30 minutes daily. Ensure that your child should not feel exhausted or short of breath. The total activity in a day should be around one hour depending upon the physical conditions of your child.
(vi) Ensure your child gets plenty of water to drink to replace fluid lost by sweating.
(vii) You have to be a role model for your children. If they see you watching TV or being not active, they are more likely to do the same. If you yourself are active, they are also more likely to be active.
(viii) Plan some activities for your family, such as walking, dancing or biking together.