Across the world, obesity has become a problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Currently, over one billion adults have been reported as being over weight and 300 million of that number is obese. Worldwide, the average number of overweight children under five has reached an alarming 22 million! Aside from this, the number is increasing with no signs of slowing down. The population is increasing worldwide while the availability of food with the proper nutritional content is decreasing in comparison.
Obesity is a disease that affects every age, every race and every gender. The financial status of any one group has no effect on the ability to avoid this issue. The effect obesity has on the body and mind is not the only factor, there are also social repercussions associated with the disease. It creates a burden on the society as well as the health care systems.
What Is Obesity
Obesity is determined by measuring the BMI or body mass index of a person. The weight taken in kilograms is then divided. It is divided by the square in meters of the person’s height or body length. The averages are defined according to the region or origin of the person. For example, the scale used for a person in china, where the populous in naturally shorter wont be used in Africa where the populous in naturally taller. In the United States as well as Europe, the average is 25-27kg-m2. Anything over that is considered as being overweight. Any amount surpassing 30kg-m2 is clinically obese.
Obesity and Children
Many parents are worried about their child’s weight from the moment they are born. When a newborn is at the hospital, nurses and doctors encourage frequent and abundant feedings; this habit is encouraged for the first few months of life. While it is very important to assure that an infant eat properly to thrive, positive eating habits start from here.
As your child ages, simply requesting them not to eat unhealthy food isn’t enough. Good habits such as eating on time and consuming your meals as a family, assuring that the child obtains the proper amount of sleep daily, and also limiting television are things that will greatly encourage positive and healthy eating habits. Studies show that households that place importance on these things have a lower instance of obesity in the home.
Children who consume their evening meals with the family and obtain at least ten hours of sleep each night along with not viewing more than two hours of television per day are about forty percent less susceptible to obesity. While this isn’t possible in every situation or in every home, even following one of these rules will greatly decrease the child’s risk.
How does obesity affect ones health?
Additional weight can affect every aspect of a person or child’s life. The ability t complete regular daily task can seem impossible to those with extra body weight. Along with limited movement, there are also mental issues and learning impediments associated with obesity. Low self image, depression, and lack of confidence are the most noted. There is a higher instance of adolescent diabetes that has never been seen before; this is the effect of toddler obesity. If bad easting habits and weight issues persist, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, liver problems and early death.
Obesity in toddlers can be cause by many different factors. While there is science to back up a certain amount of genetic precursors, a lot has to do with lifestyle. Food portions should be closely monitored in children; most pre-packaged foods are not packages in single serving sizes. In fact the majority of packages hold two and a half portions. When feeding your toddler, its best to use serving cups to properly measure out the correct of mount of food for their age and nutrition requirements. This allows both you and your child to understand the proper amount of food to serve and to eat. This habit when used over time will instill a natural ability to prevent the child from overeating.
Along with proper food portions, the type of food given to a child is equally important. Meals that are high in waste or saturated fat should be avoided. Salt though needed for survival should not be consumed in overly high amounts. Sugar is present in almost everything; it occurs naturally in pasta, rice, potatoes and most fruit. While natural sugar is the best form to consume, it’s important to assure that refined sugars are kept to a minimum in a toddler’s daily diet.
How Your Schedule affects your child’s health
In the current economy, most households have two working parents. This of course translates into less time dedicated to preparing healthy meals or being active with your toddler. Aside from meals and activity, sleep is key. Children, who have more sleep at night, wake up refreshed with more energy to be active during the day. If one spouse arrive home to late, it’s best for the children to have eaten earlier and put to bed. While this may be breaking the family dinner rule, it is better to have a well rested child full of energy to run and play during their waking hours. When eating with your children, avid distractions such as televisions, books, cell phones and other items. This teaches your toddler to be mindful of their intake as well as allows you to spend quality time together.
Kids are naturally active; this activity should be encouraged and not stifled. If the time allows, light physical play after a meal is a good way to jumpstart their metabolism which will allow the food eaten to be processed. Taking a family walk after lunch and dinner is a great way to easily get in family time and a healthy way to add activity to your daily routine. Skip the stroller and opt for a stroll around the block at a pace that your child can match. Include at least one active activity on the weekend, for example visit a park during the warm months and a indoor playground during the summer months.
Lead by example, when children see their parents eating healthy and being active it will be a way of life for the entire family.