Child Obesity – Who can stop it?
According to World Health Organization around 22 million children worldwide are obese. It is no longer confined to developed countries. Developing countries like India, China, and Brazil too are showing an alarming rise in child obesity. Though overall obesity rate across the country is low, the increase in child obesity in cities is a serious cause of concern.
Developed countries like the United States have an alarming rate of obesity. 25% of children and teenagers are overweight or obese. The same is with the adult population there. Approx 62% of the adult population is overweight and 26% is obese. This percentage is expected to increase to 75% overweight and a whopping 41% obese adult population by 2015 in the United States.
There is a steady rise in obese children in India. This disturbing trend is found in cities, especially metros among children aged 5 to 10 years.
Two factors are responsible for the rise in child obesity. The changing food consumption pattern of the child is the main culprit. It is further compounded by the inactive lifestyle of the child. In most developing countries the children live in areas which do not have any open space for physical sports. Schooling takes up the major part of their day. During free time, the children prefer to watch TV, or play computer games rather than play in garden or open spaces. Hence lots of physical activities are curtailed by technology.
Change in lifestyle has made children addicted to junk food like colas, sodas, chips and wafers and other things that have saturated fats. They prefer more pizzas and burgers to normal diet of vegetable and other protein or carbohydrate rich food.
On one hand physical activities is reduced and on the other hand food consumed is unhealthy that piles on the fat on the body. We parents love our children so much that we fulfill their every wish and do not want them to get too strenuous exercises. In short we unknowingly love making them obese.
Obesity has short and long term effects on both the individual as well as the country as a whole. Obese children have a tendency to remain obese even during their adult life. Obesity is the mother of all diseases. Even if an obese person does not have any other disease, Obesity heightens the risk to other disease and disorders many folds. Obesity can lead to arthritis, blood pressure and diabetes, kidney disorders, liver functioning disorder at a later age in obese children. This makes the actual cost attributed to effects of Obesity in healthcare difficult to calculate.
The psychological impact of Obesity to the child can range from reduced self-esteem to impaired performance in all spheres of activities. Today’s obese children may grow up to be tomorrow’s unhealthy and low productive adults.
On the positive side, everything needed to combat Obesity is available naturally. All one needs is awareness, good healthy food and proper exercise. Eating healthy food with plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding fatty and junk food, doing normal exercise and play more of outdoor sports and games can be enough to prevent obesity in children.
Teaching a child how to live an active and healthy lifestyle that prevents Obesity or stops it from recurring is the best gift the parent can give. All they need is genuine desire and sincere efforts to ensure that their children lead an Obesity free life.
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