How to prevent childhood obesity – Experts speak
The past three decades has witnessed a steep rise in childhood obesity and overweight cases around the world. It is estimated that more than 170 million children globally are affected by this complex condition.
Initially, childhood obesity was thought to be more prevalent in mid/high-income countries. However, today this has become a troubling issue all around. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has labelled obesity as one of the most serious public health challenges of the early 21st century.
The onus or responsibility of helping a child with obesity or overweight falls on the parents/guardians of the child. Dr Shreya Dubey – Consultant, Paediatrics & Neonatology at the CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon answers common questions asked while dealing with childhood obesity. The CK Birla Hospital Gurgaon is one of the Best Paediatric Hospitals in Gurgaon with comprehensive services for childcare and child development.
What types of food should I give my child to avoid obesity?
Try inculcating healthy eating habits in your child as early as possible. Make sure you keep the following tips in mind while planning your child’s diet
- There should be plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grain products.
- Have plenty of low-fat/non-fat dairy products including cheese and yogurt.
- Choose lean proteins such as chicken, fish, lentils and beans.
- Develop the habit of drinking plenty of water
- Reduce consumption of sugar and saturated fats
What are the foods that can cause childhood obesity?
The main culprit of childhood obesity is “empty calorie” foods. Basically, these are foods which are high in calorific value but extremely low in nutrient concentration. These include candy, sugary drinks, processed sugar etc.
Try giving your child low fat, low sugar treats instead. Switch processed sugars for healthier sweeteners such as honey or jaggery.
Can my child’s sleeping patterns cause overweight or obesity?
Too little or too much sleep has been shown to increase the likelihood of obesity. Children do need more sleep as compared to adults. However, you must monitor their sleeping patterns. The best thing to do is speak to your child’s paediatrician to get a better idea of what is the appropriate sleep duration for your child.
How do I get my child to exercise?
Exercise is extremely important for your child’s development. It helps in:
- Strengthening bones
- Regulating blood pressure
- Managing stress and anxiety
- Increasing self esteem
- Managing weight
Today more and more children are getting into the habit of playing on the screen rather than outdoors very early on. This is a huge contributing factor to the increasing cases of a wide range of disorders such as obesity, sleep disorders etc.
Parents can encourage their child to play and engage in physical activities by participating with them. Limit screen time to set timings/durations so your child can wean of this unhealthy habit.
How do I know if my child is overweight?
It is important to remember that the definition of obesity and overweight is extremely different in children as opposed to adults. This is largely due to the fact that children are affected by unpredictable growth spurts. Do not make any changes to your child’s diet based on your understanding of the same. Get your child evaluated routinely by a paediatrician to get the right clinical advice regarding their health.
The most important thing to remember is that children learn by imitating us. For children to follow healthy eating and lifestyle habits, it is essential that parents start practicing them first. Engage with your child in physical activities such as playing in the park or running etc. This will not only help them in forming a healthy bond with you but it also goes a long way in your child’s physical and psychological development.
You can consult with the best child Specialist at the CK Birla Hospital in Gurgaon by calling +91 124 4882200 or book your appointment online by clicking the link here: https://www.ckbhospital.com/book-an-appointment/.