The number of children affected by obesity is ever-increasing, making obesity seem like an epidemic.
Children who consume more calories in comparison to what they use or burn out in form of activity are at a great risk of obesity. Continued intake of increased calories than what the body needs will result in the child being overweight and later obese. There are various factors which influence this behaviour.
Genes do play a crucial role in an individual’s susceptibility to gain excess body weight. The genetics factor usually plays in combination with other factors to have any significant effect on weight. Obesity due to a genetic reason is quite rare and case specific. For example Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic disorder in which obesity is seen in the patient. A child may be susceptible to obesity if his/her parents are obese.
The diet of children today has undergone a complete change from the diet their parents were taking. This change if diet has many reasons like emergence of the double income and nuclear family concept provides no time for the child to be guided or monitored about good food habits. Children remain to be in the company of friends or the television where junk food or unhealthy eating habits is their only friend
Today families do not have the time to pack nutritious food for the children at school instead allocate money for everyday expenses to purchase from the cafeteria. Children nowadays also insist on purchasing food as to them it seems “being cool” while they lose out in the vital nutrients a home-cooked freshly made food has.
Children today spend more time in sedentary work rather than outdoor activities. Here too many reasons are to be blamed for reduced activity in a child’s life. Children today are stressed more on academic performance and excellence while physical activity or sports have been completely ignored. Going to school has been coupled with tutorial classes in the evening which leaves no time to fitness building activities.
Parents are also unworthy as role models for their children as they themselves do not have any time for fitness. Children do not have anybody to emulate hence start imitating their own parents’ lifestyle. Widespread popularity of videogames or networking sites along with television has cut down “real” socializing and physical workouts.
In some rare cases, obesity in children can be due to an underlying medical condition which could be hormonal or metabolism related. Certain medications can lead to weight gain in children.
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