Prevention of Obesity in Children
The biggest threat to children these days is Overweight and obesity. Obesity is the state of being grossly fat and overweight. Another way of defining obesity is that obesity is a medical condition in which a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health — also a person with high body mass index supposed to fall in obesity category.
When is it Obesity?
In the past, it was possible to tell from growth and weight line whether a child was too fat. Because more and more children have become too fat, the weight line also shifts. This is because the chart is made up of the weights that the children now have. As a result, a weight on the lines is drawn as standard, which is abnormal.
It is better to look at the Body Mass Index. This is understood to mean the weight in kilos divided by the length in meters squared. To maintain good limit values, some large growth studies have been used in some countries. From this, an international table for age and gender has been drawn up. One speaks in adults of overweight at a BMI = 25 and of obesity at a BMI = thirty. The table shows that these values ?? are reached only at 18 years for children.
In addition to weight and length, however, it is also necessary to look at the physique. Some children are heavy, but not too fat. They have a strong physique with lots of muscles. This is possible because muscles are more massive than fat and give a distorted image. When assessing the weight, this has to be taken into account, and that is why it is so essential to really see children and not just take the bare figures out.
General Side Effects of Obesity
Already at a young age, these diseases are possible in the form of type II diabetes, joint disorders, fatty liver and also psychosocial problems in the form of reduced self-esteem and depression can be related to overweight.
There has been a constant increase in weight in children and the elderly for a long time. Compared to twenty years ago, the number of overweight children has even doubled. Even at a young age, it appears that children are overweight. Recent research1 shows that children who have a rapid weight gain between 2 and 6 years have a very high chance of being overweight or obese in adulthood.
In adulthood, overweight causes many health problems, such as an increase in cardiovascular disease, diabetes type II or diabetes, a too high cholesterol level, problems with joints and increased blood pressure. Apart from the misery and suffering that the consequences of obesity have for everyone involved, there is also the aspect of the astronomical costs that the treatment entails for society. That is why it is of the utmost importance to promote the health of children by preventing them from getting fat.
What causes are there?
- The causes for the increase in the number of overweight children must be sought in a combination of various factors that the child comes into contact with from birth. Only 1% of the children are fat due to a particular disease and actually, make up a negligibly small part of the total.
- Causes in food, eating habits and drinks; Too little movement; Research published in 2010 shows that only 29% of 4-11-year-olds meet the Dutch standard for healthy exercise. This is even 15% for the 12-17 year group.
- Lifestyle; Genetic predisposition; There are several genes known that play a role in the way and the extent to which the body constructs adipose tissue.
Precautionary actions. How to prevent fat. Fortunately, there are measures by parents to take to prevent overweight or worse with their child. These measures are also arranged by youth health care at the consultation office or discussed at school. The government has also seen how serious the increase in the number of fat children is and, together with municipalities, develops subsidised projects to make children move more.
Measures to prevent or reduce overweight are:
- Breastfeed as long as possible. It has been found that when children are breastfed, this has a significant preventive effect on the development of overweight. That is why it is advisable to breastfeed for at least the first 6 months exclusively.
- Stick to the three main meals and limit snacks. See also the section on healthy food. Furthermore, it is essential to have a good breakfast, with a lot of grain products and little fat.
- Avoid using sweetened beverages. Note the composition of soft drinks. Also note the differences in the amount of sugar between fresh fruit juice, fruit drink, fruit syrup and fruit nectar. Many snacks with sweetened drinks cause a significant increase in the total amount of carbohydrates in the diet. For the development of overweight, the frequent use of soft drinks appears to be a significant cause.
- Encourage your child to move more. Healthy, not too fat children should walk for at least one hour a day. For children who are overweight, it is advisable to move for 1½ hours a day.
- Outdoor games are an excellent way to get rid of energy. Also, it exercises children ok in their social contact with age enjoyed. Give the right example for extra exercise by also walking, cycling or exercising regularly. Teach your child that it is fun to move and stimulate it to join a sports club early.