Obesity and How To Overcome It BY rnm1725 Obesity: The Struggles and How to Overcome Them Obesity is one of the biggest struggles with children and their parents today even more than drug and alcohol abuse. There are many causes why a child may become obese. Parents should take the proper steps to ensure that their children have healthy lifestyles. If not, the children may have many problems now and later on in life. These problems will not be easy to fix when the children are adults, so the children should start to change as soon as the signs of obesity arise.
Obesity is defined as having extra body fat for a certain height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a mixture of these factors. This is sometimes the result of caloric imbalance, or not enough calories used for the amount that are consumed (Adolescent and School Health). Others define obesity in children as body weight at least twenty percent higher than a healthy weight for a child of that height, or a body fat percentage above twenty five percent in boys or above thirty two percent in girls (quoted in E Medicine Health). Obesity commonly starts between the ages of five and ix years old.
It can be affected by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors (Facts for Families). Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona states, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. ” (quoted in American Heart Association) Obesity is not all that meets the eye; meaning Just because someone sees a larger than normal child does not mean the child is obese. Some children have larger body sizes than others.
If a child is starting to put on excessive weight a doctor can see if this child’s weight is ata good point or if it poses a health problem. Body mass index should be measured on a child to see if, when compared to other children of the same sex and age, the child is normal. Body mass index does not count having a muscular body or a larger than average body frame. The child’s growth and development must be put into consideration by a doctor (Mayo Clinic). Genetic and hormonal factors may come along with obesity, but the main cause comes from children eating too much and exercising too little.
Genetic diseases and hormonal disorders can be a cause of obesity, but this is not common. Diseases such as Prader-Willi syndrome and Cushings syndrome, affect a very small number of children (Mayo Clinic). Skin conditions may occur such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne (WebMD). Some risk factors leading to obesity include diet, lack of exercise, family history, psychological factors, family factors, and socioeconomic factors. Eating high-calorie foods regularly can make any child gain weight. Children should avoid fast foods, baked goods, and vending machine snacks whenever possible.
Filling up on soft drinks, candy, and desserts that are filled with sugar, fat, and calories is not good for any child. Children should exercise to burn the calories that are consumed throughout the day. Playing video games and watching television are not helping the problem. If a child comes from an overweight family he or she is more likely to be overweight also. These children are probably surrounded by high-calorie foods, and psychological issue with some children causing them to overeat, thinking that helps their problems. Dealing with emotions, stress, or fghting boredom is no reason to at excessively.
Parents’ income can also be a big factor in children’s eating habits. It takes time and resources to make exercising and eating healthy a family priority (Mayo Clinic). There are many physical complications that come along with obesity. Type 2 diabetes is a common occurrence in children with a poor diet; but can be turned around if healthier foods are consumed and exercising takes place. Metabolic Syndrome includes heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. These conditions may include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and excess abdominal fat.
A child can develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol if he or she eats poorly. The build-up of bad food in the body can cause plaque in the arteries. The hardened arteries can lead to heart attacks and strokes later on in life. Extra weight can cause problems in the lungs making it hard for children to breathe leading to asthma. Another complication that comes with obesity is sleeping disorders. A child can have sleep apnea, in which the child snores or has abnormal breathing when he or she sleeps. Hormone imbalances may occur in an obese child, leading puberty to start earlier than normal (Mayo Clinic).
There are immediate benefits that come with changing an unhealthy lifestyle toa healthy one. Children will not feel so full after eating smaller portions, going hiking with a parent will encourage open communication, fruit salad is a beautiful dessert that is also yummy and healthy (HelpGuide). In one study, children from the age of five to seventeen years old, seventy percent of the obese youth had at least one factor for cardiovascular disease. Some obese adolescents get prediabetes, which is a condition where blood glucose levels are so high that it eventually becomes diabetes.
These children are also at a greater risk for having bone and Joint complications, sleep problems, social problems, and poor self- esteem (Adolescent and School Health). Children who are unhappy with their weight may also be more likely to develop eating disorders and substance abuse problems. The sooner the children are diagnosed the easier it will be to make sure the children do not develop these or other medical conditions when the children get older (HelpGuide). Obesity is a common form of prejudice in our society today. The abuse from others begins as early as age three.
Parents instill negative thoughts towards their obese children such as lazy, ugly, stupid, and gross. Some parents believe this will motivate their children to get healthy but usually the children Just binge eat and the situation worsens. Some children who are victims of bullying become bullies themselves. Many suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and poor body image (Family Education). If a person is obese as a child it is more likely for them to remain obese as adults. Obesity in adults may cause problems such as: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, everal types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
One study exposed that children as early as age two were likely to be obese adults. Obesity can also lead to some very serious cancers including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate (Adolescent and School Obesity factors can be lowered if healthy habits take place. The diet and physical activities of children are greatly swayed by factors such as: family, community, school, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government gencies, the media, and food and beverage industries.
Schools can play a big role in children’s behavior. Therefore, schools need to encourage a healthy lifestyle and provide knowledge about healthy eating and physical activities (Kid’s Health). Starting in infancy, the parents should hold off on introducing solid foods and stick to breastfeeding. This is shown to reduce the cause of obesity (E Medicine Health). It is very important that parents allow their child to know that they will be supportive during weight struggle. Children’s feelings about themselves come from the way the hink their parents see them, and with supportive parents, the child will have confidence (WebMD).
Todays families have very little time to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal for their children. Fast food is the quick and easy way to go for the busy family, and that leads to an unhealthy family. Parents should take control of this problem and start a weight-management program, change eating habits, plan meals, control food portions, increase physical activity, eat meals as a family, and many other things (Mayo Clinic). There are several ways to involve the entire family in healthy habits, ut increasing physical activity is the most important.
If children see their parents working out and having fun, they are more likely to Join and be active as adults (WebMD). Encouraging longer and more regular sleep can reduce the risk of obesity. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep in children can be a big reason why they gain unwanted weight. Researchers have discovered that an extra half hour of sleep can lower BMI. They wrote that, “Obese children were less likely to experience ‘catch-up’ sleep on weekends, and the combination of shorter sleep duration and more-variable leep patterns was associated with adverse metabolic outcomes.
Educational campaigns, aimed at families, regarding longer and more-regular sleep may promote decreases in obesity rates and may improve metabolic dysfunction trends in school- aged children. ” (quoted in Obesity in Children-Virtually Unchanged in U. S. ) In conclusion, there are many factors to obesity in children. But, steps can be taken to prevent and to help this problem. With a little help from family, peers, and doctors there is no reason a child should ever have to suffer with this disease.