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Obesity In Children

April 13, 2011
Though obesity is usually associated with adults, obesity in children is becoming increasingly common these days. Facts about obesity in children are scary and tell us that it is a growing threat for children today obesity in children goes undiagnosed because most parents think that their children are “big built” or have “heavy bones”.

The causes of obesity in children largely stem from sedentary lifestyles. Factors contributing to obesity in children include changing times where parents are often too busy with work and children find it easier to sit in front of the television or the computer and participate in sedentary fun. Reasons for obesity in children are the same as in the case of adults but the consequences of such obesity are far reaching in children. Children who even consume over 100 calories more than they expend run the  risk of becoming obese. 

The risk factors for obesity in children are many including the onset of adult diseases like sleep apnea which is irregularity in breathing due to fat accumulation.

The effects of obesity in children are long lasting and lead to many lifestyle-related diseases like hypertension and diabetes much earlier in life.

There are many ways of preventing obesity in children including eating fresh and balanced home cooked meals and getting some exercise. While genetics does seem to be one of the factors contributing to obesity in children, it is not a factor that cannot be combated. Sometimes economics also plays a big role.

Fast food that is fatty is usually cheaper than fresh food. This makes it the default choice in many segments of the population, making it difficult to prevent obesity in childhood itself. Preventing obesity in children usually means the entire family needs to get together and eat on time, eat healthy and ensure that there is some family time that does not involve television or video games.

Involve your children in grocery shopping so that you are able to teach your child about nutrition and how to make healthier choices. To combat obesity in children, you have to remember not to overly criticize your child and encourage your child in every way possible.

Obesity in adolescence

Obesity in adolescence
can be traumatic.  Obesity in adolescence is also quite common and often carries with it the stigma of being fat.    Children who are very sensitive may develop many complexes as a result of it. Statistics show that obesity in adolescents or children aged 6 to 12, has tripled in the last few years, especially in the United States.  Obesity could  lead to depression, low self esteem and eventually disrupt overall health leading to stunted mental and psychological growth.

The risk factors for obesity in adolescents are similar to those in children.

These adolescents run the risk of getting lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes, hypertension and in some extreme cases, even disease affecting the joints and bones. Prevention of adolescent obesity is similar to prevention of obesity in children. Ensure that your children get some amount of physical activity every day. It needn’t be regular regimented exercise but can be activities they might enjoy like swimming, riding, playing outdoor sports or skating.

Obesity in teenagers

Obesity in teenagers is also quite common, especially in the United States. Statistics show that children who are obese usually carry forth that condition into their teenage years. It is also a fact that this extra weight is usually accompanied by  many diseases like diabetes and stress related ailments. Teenagers who are dealing with obesity are also dealing with many psychological issues and while teaching them how to prevent it, the teenagers also have to be taught how to cope with being fat.

Education and awareness is an important part of teaching teenagers how to deal with obesity. They have to be shown that while it is important to lose weight and become healthy, it is not who they are that define their personalities. It should help them cope with peer pressure and social conformity and make it possible for them to avoid major psychological damage which would promote eating disorders.

Obesity in adults

Obesity until recently has always been associated with adults. It is a common condition in a majority of adults worldwide. Obesity usually means being overweight but by a considerably large margin.  Today, doctors have outlined different degrees of obesity and people are classified into different categories based on how many pounds overweight they are.

The risk of obesity in adults is very high as more and more people are putting on weight. Their bodies cannot handle this excess weight and it leads to chronic lifestyle related diseases that present different complications of their own. Diabetes, hypertension and heart related ailments are very common in adults who are obese. These problems, with unchecked weight, lead to many other complications like organ failure, multiple heart operations and blindness along with an impaired sense of living for life. These are facts about obesity in adults.

In adults who are obese, obesity is measured by measuring fat percentage.  Adults who have a fat percentage over 40 are considered extremely obese while those between 20 and 30 are considered to be in the high risk group. Typical habits like eating incorrectly, leading a sedentary lifestyle and not getting enough exercise can often lead excessive weight gain. For adults dealing with obesity, dealing with any one factor is not enough. All attitudes must change and obesity should be tackled on all fronts. Genes cannot always be blamed. There is some chance that obesity is genetic but that is never the only reason.

If you, as an adult, make healthy choices, your children will turn out relatively healthy. If your family has a history of obesity or lifestyle related diseases, you should take extra precautions to ensure that you do not put on unhealthy amounts of weight.  It is usually a lifelong battle hence when it comes to obesity; there have to be lifestyle changes. Obesity is a serious condition and must not be overlooked.
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