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Preventing Obesity in Children

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There are increasing incidences of obesity in children especially in developed countries. Genetics and lifestyle play an important role in obesity and weight gain. There can be many reasons for obesity in children such as intake of high calorie food, high sugar and high fat food and little or no physical activity. The incidence of obesity is higher in girls when compared to boys.

The children are prone to obesity since early childhood; the measures to prevent obesity should be started with early signs. It is important to differentiate between healthy eating and binge eating. Never criticize your child for being over-weight or obese. Proper care and support of the parents builds confidence in children to lose weight with mental and emotional support. Parents should work on improving family lifestyle, eating habits and physical activity. The BMI helps in determining the age appropriate height and weight and compare it to standard values. The aim of the doctors will be to inhibit further weight gain and concentrating to grow normal height. The doctor advises following measures to prevent and control obesity

Physical Activity:

  • Keep a check on screen time for video games, watching TV and other sedentary habits which requires long hours of seating.
  • Physical activity can help child maintain weight. Family activities such as biking, swimming, racing can be helpful in reducing weight and improving stamina.
  • An obese child may find it difficult to perform activities help him with the chores to build confidence.

The Food:

  • Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Opt for fat-free or low-fat dairy products, the calcium requirements cannot be compromised for high fat milk products.
  • Offer low calorie foots
  • Encourage your child to avoid sugary drinks, soft drinks and canned fruit juices as they are likely to contain high sugars,

The eating:

  • Ask the child to chew slowly as it helps in burning calories
  • Encourage the child to eat when he is hungry. Help the child analyze when he is actually hungry and should eat.
  • The child should eat food without any diversions, to analyze the feeling of fullness and not just over eat
  • The children should not be put on diet unless otherwise advised by a doctor. The child needs adequate nutrients for healthy growth and development.

Veteran

Written by Renu Goyal

A Child Psychologist, founder of KIDicious – Learning Differently, a child psychological therapy clinic based in Delhi. Have written various articles relating to Child Psychology in magazines like Meri Saheli, Responsible parenting, Psyinsight etc. Presented many papers in national and international conferences.

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