How To Prevent Obesity In Children, Expert Explains

To prevent your child from gaining too much weight, you can follow the following tips.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: Sep 29, 2022 19:09 IST
How To Prevent Obesity In Children, Expert Explains

Children and adolescents can develop childhood obesity, posing serious health problems. This is particularly alarming because being overweight often predisposes children to health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol that were previously thought to be adult problems. Depression and low self-esteem can also result from childhood obesity.

In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth editorial team Neha Pathania, Chief Dietician, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, explains that an established indicator of being overweight and obese is the body mass index (BMI), which offers a weight-to-height ratio. Your child's doctor can help you determine if their weight might cause health issues by using growth charts, the BMI, and, if required, additional testing. The major causes of childhood obesity are lifestyle factors, such as insufficient exercise and a diet high in calories. However, it's possible that hormonal and genetic influences play a role as well.

Improving your family's eating and exercise habits is one of the best ways to fight childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is treatable and preventable, helping protect your child's current and future health. Children who have obesity may experience teasing or bullying by their peers. This can result in a loss of self-esteem and put them at an increased risk of depression and anxiety. So it is pertinent that you do not add to those insecurities when handling their health.

Tips To Prevent Obesity In Children

To prevent your child from gaining too much weight, you can:

1. Set a good example

Encourage your family to engage in regular exercise and healthy eating. There will be shared benefits, and nobody will feel left out.

2. Have healthy snacks available

There are other alternatives to junk food, such as whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, fruits with low-fat yoghurt, baby carrots with hummus, and air-popped popcorn without butter. These food items are not only healthy but also good in taste so your child can enjoy what they eat.

Tips To Prevent Obesity In Children

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3. Offer new foods multiple times

It might require repeated exposure to certain foods for your child to acquire a taste for it.. If they are not instantly a favourite, don't become discouraged at once. Keep trying to appeal to their taste buds by trying different dishes using ingredients they may not have liked.

4. Choose non-food rewards

It's not a good idea to promise candy in exchange for good conduct. However, it's a practice that most parents practise and children get used to it. Therefore, avoid junk food as a form of reward.

5. Make sure your child gets enough sleep

According to several studies, obesity is a risk factor for kids who don't get enough sleep. Hormonal abnormalities that result from inadequate sleep might increase hunger, which in turn leads to obesity. Understand that quality sleep of eight hours is a must.

Additionally, make sure your child has well-child exams from the doctor at least once every year. The doctor will measure your child's height, weight, and BMI at this appointment. Your child may be at danger of being overweight if their BMI percentile rank has increased noticeably over the course of a year.