A child is considered obese when their weight is above normal for their height and age. Childhood obesity is a huge epidemic that deserves close attention and research. It is important that parents and caregivers understand what causes obesity in children.
The more we understand about what causes obesity in children the better we can help them and future generations. The Brightside Academy offers help and education to those trying to make better choices.
Poor Food Choices
Poor food choices are the main contributor to childhood obesity. Processed foods, foods high in sugar and fat taste good but they wreak havoc in our bodies. These foods not only cause people to gain weight but they raise your blood pressure, your cholesterol, and contribute to childhood behavioral issues.
Eating more green vegetables and vegetables, in general, helps to boost your immune system among other health benefits. Making sure that your children are eating enough protein and fruits and vegetables can help to reverse obesity. Eating healthy and balanced meals helps to promote clearer thinking in school and ward off disease.
Lack of Exercise
Our bodies were meant to move, no matter what age you are you have to keep moving. A sedentary lifestyle promotes obesity because you are just not burning off what you consume. It is as simple as taking a walk every day or picking up a hobby. Children are born to play and the more and more our society becomes attached to technology the less they get out and play.
Set strict boundaries around time on phones, tablets, computers, and televisions and enforce it. Set daily time for everyone to get active and try to find something you and your kids can enjoy. Start out with thirty minutes and work your way up to an hour of activity daily to keep your heart healthy and your weight normalized.
Community and Social Environment
Our surroundings play a huge role in how we eat and the choices that we make. Cultural food and traditions can encourage both good and negative behavior when it comes to food. New studies find that the traditional practice of forcing kids to eat what is on their plates encourages overeating.
Try putting smaller amounts of food on your child’s plate and then if they are still hungry they can get seconds. In some neighborhoods, fast food is more prevalent and easier to access than fruits and vegetables. It is important to teach children from small food awareness so that they can try their best to make the best choices they have available to them.
Childhood depression is becoming more and more common and with that usually comes poor eating habits, lack of activity, and other unhealthy habits. If your child is showing signs of depression find a counselor you and your child can trust. Depression should be taken seriously and addressed as quickly as possible.
Another behavioral factor is emotional eating. Whether people are happy or sad they can use food as a way of celebrating or coping. Understanding one’s personality can help control these urges a little more by either making healthier food choices or coping another way.
Changing Your Genetics
There is much controversy on whether we can change our genetics or not but the fact is, genetics can play a role, but not the only role. Genetics plays a part in the way we burn calories or the rate at which we burn calories. If you have two parents that are obese it is very possible their child is too.
Don’t let this discourage you, just because genetics play a role doesn’t mean you are doomed. You can change your family’s eating habits along with how much activity you get every day. This will take time and a lot of patience but it is worth it in the long run.
Underlying Health Issues
If you know that your child is eating healthy, staying at their recommended daily caloric intake and getting proper exercise schedule an appointment with your physician. The doctor can perform blood tests that will determine whether there’s a hormonal imbalance, a thyroid issue, or other health concerns.
There are a variety of health issues that can cause the metabolism to slow down, including food allergies. Taking a closer look at what is going on inside can help you tweak your child’s lifestyle or determine whether medication is necessary.
Effects of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity can cause a myriad of other health concerns that range from physical, emotional, and mental. Obese children are at risk for joint and bone problems and shortness of breath that makes sports and activity more difficult. Restless sleep, gallbladder, and liver disease are also issues commonly seen in obese children.
Obese children tend to mature quicker than their peers at an average weight. With obesity and subsequent health issues comes depression and anxiety. Many times children are victims of bullying which further affects their self-esteem and mental health.
Parents Can Help Prevent Childhood Obesity
A parent is a child’s first line of defense in the world and whether they understand it or not they count on us to make the best decisions for them. There are ways that you can prevent obesity and if you have a child that is obese there are ways to get help:
- Regular doctor visits and speaking to a nutritionist
- Do away with the clean plate policy
- Be the example, eat healthier, and exercise
- Don’t prohibit certain foods altogether but don’t keep them in the home either.
- Don’t reward kids with food.
- If you are a new parent breastfeed over bottle feed.
- Let your kids choose recipes out of a healthy cookbook. Children are more likely to be excited about something if they have more autonomy.
Last but not least, don’t give up. Parenting is hard but not impossible, stay consistent, and results will come.
Contact Us For Early Learning
The Brightside Academy is here to walk with you as your child develops through early childhood. We offer an appropriate learning environment for infants through school-age children. Call us today to enroll or for more information.