Very few conditions have a detrimental effect on both the physical and psychological well-being of children, as childhood obesity does. It affects children and adolescents alike. Apart from preventing the child from participating in numerous sports, it also heralds health conditions such as diabetes that were only known to spoil the health of adults. While the inability to participate in physical activities is incredibly cruel, the blows it deals with their psyche is more so. Obese children/adolescents often have low self-esteem, which stops them from being confident in anything they do. Some don’t even talk aloud or raise their hands for questions in case they have doubts in the classroom. Most would just want to sulk in a corner, away from their peers’ eyesight, fearing ridicule.
Other serious health complications usually follow childhood obesity. Blood pressure will gradually cross the acceptable threshold for starters. Eating disorders combine with the inability to be physically active contributes to diabetes. Sometimes the children’s bones could not support the weight, leading to joint pains.
So how do you, as a responsible parent, help your child? First, we have to identify the sprouting problem. Let’s look at some of the obesity symptoms.
When to be cautious:
Chances of a child become obese increases if one or both parents or obese or suffered from it at a young age. Teaching the child a healthy diet and constantly monitoring the BMI will help you spot a problem if one were to rise.
- Sleep apnea:
It is a condition where breathing stops in the middle of sleep, forcing the child to wake up in utter terror. If your kid suffers constant bouts of sleep apnea, perhaps it is time to check the BMI or visit a physician.
- Physical activities:
Children are notoriously infamous for running about, screeching. While an adult is disheartened at the sight of stairs, children do not even mind it as they spring around. But if your child experiences shortness of breath and becomes tired after demanding physical activities, it may be a sign of childhood obesity.
Sometimes heritage has nothing to do with obesity. Adults know that stress and work tension contributes immensely to overweight problems, and in this age of information, kids are forced into observing a lot of data that overwhelms their peace of mind, resulting in weight gain.
- Eating problems:
If the child seems to be in perpetual need of snacking on something, you might wanna take notice. It is healthy for a child to eat a lot, but when they eat in constant intervals and consume a lot of unhealthy snacks rather than meals, it might be an early sign of childhood obesity.
This is an unsurprising effect of the amalgamation of all the aforementioned problems. A child would gain pounds disproportionately to their consumption of food.
- Heritage again:
Genes play an important role in contributing to the child’s weight. Sometimes even the genes of overweight ancestors can permeate into the child’s genetic makeup and make him/her overweight.
- Improper diet:
One of the causes of obesity is predictably overeating, if not the most. Fast Food culture and swift delivery of food have made the problem worse.
- No exercise:
Children these days spend more time on their smartphones or tablets than out on the playgrounds. Inadequate or complete lack of physical activities will make it hard for the child hard to shed fat, resulting in obesity.
- Stress eating:
Monumental school Work and lackluster social life make some children feel down. For a few of them, the only source of happiness will be eating. It is not the food that they are addicted to but the calming chemicals released in their brains, providing a refreshing sense of peace. As time progresses, this will lead to childhood obesity.
A few chemical compositions, and numerous medications that use them, might cause obesity. If you see your child’s weight changes after following some prescriptions, raise this issue to the physician immediately.
Are parents responsible?
This is highly subjective and based on several factors. Letting the child eat fast food way too often is definitely not okay on your part. When a child starts to gain unnecessary pounds because of this, it is surely your responsibility. Similarly, letting the children spend too much time with their gadgets and not encouraging them to go out and play is another thing parents should not do. Likewise, if a child is too stressed about schoolwork or shows early signs of depression, they might gain weight; your intervention is needed to talk to them about their problems or consult a mental health professional so that you can prevent obesity.
But there are other instances where parents are helpless. For example, even if a parent is particular about their children eat properly, get enough physical activities, and spend enough time with them to help them deal with stress, the child can still become obese by taking some unavoidable medications that they need for other health conditions. In this scenario, we can’t really blame the parents. So what to do about the obesity of children?
How to help?
- Change eating style:
Fruits and vegetable snacks should be made available, while unhealthy ones must be chucked out. Proper diet is the primary step to solve the problem of childhood obesity.
- Monitor sleep:
If your child is obese and unable to sleep properly, make some changes like curtailing sweets and caffeine from dinner. Quality mattresses and blankets can be bought to help the child sleep peacefully.
- Provide mental support:
Being obese out in the real world is incredibly tough. Body shaming from friends and strangers is intolerable, leading to the plummeting of self-esteem. Supporting the child when these sorts of events occur will help them suffer little stress, thus blocking its contribution to obesity.
- Participate in physical activities:
If your child is too shy to go out to play with other children and resorts to finding solace in cyberspace for entertainment, you take them out yourself and play with them.
Heritage or not, a parent who sets an example by eating well, exercising more, and being there for the child when he/she needs help with something that overwhelms them will definitely help the obese child lose weight. It is necessary to remember that obesity causes other severe problems to the child’s mind and body, so the sooner you help, the better it is.