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By Planning Family

Child Obesity

Did you know..?

1. Obesity is when a child’s weight is 20% in excess of the standard weight for the child’s height

2. Surveys show that about 20% of obese children go on to become fat adults.

3. Obese adults develop a tendency to suffer health issues such as heart problems, blood pressure, diabetes etc

4. A fact remains that obese children are targets for social bullying and this can lead to social rejection.

5. A child’s weight goes up strictly in proportion with his height; so if he gains weight much faster than his height then he is getting on the fat side.

The Causes

Genes - studies show that children of obese parents turn obese with time but the same didn't apply when overweight adults raised adopted kids as their own; these children do not become obese. This point can be illustrated further with the example of a set of twins; if one identical twin is overweight the other tends to be too while this tendency varies greatly for non-identical twins.

Unhealthy diet - eating foods high in fat and sugar like junk food and cutting back on nutritious ones such as fruits, vegetables paves the way for obese eating habits. Lack of exercise does not help either.

Your Actions

Check with your pediatrician and with the help of his growth chart it can be determined or confirmed if weight is an issue with your child. If it is decided that your child is overweight, then your focus should be to slow down his weight gain and not put him on some weight loss program. Some tips you can consider:

• Look into your child's consumption of fat: make a substantial difference to calories without a substantial difference to taste. The first step is to reduce his table fats and fried foods. Instead of frying foods in oil or butter try dry frying in a non-stick pan or baking. Opt for low-calorie spreads instead of butter; oven baked French fries instead of deep frying them. Eggs and bacons for instance ought to be cooked in a non-stick pan. Mode of cooking affects calories.

• Although no longer on a milk diet, it is sensible to serve your child semi-skimmed milk. Serve water at meals or as thirst quenchers instead of juices and fizzy drinks. Occasionally mix fresh juice with soda as a treat.

• Look into his carbohydrate intake because while they work as energy foods, the sugary versions do more harm than good. Sugar in drinks for instance gives a lot of calories without actually filling him up. Reduce on empty calories and dissuade your child from growing dependant on sweet drinks and you are working towards preventing your child from walking on the road towards obesity.

• Avoid using sweets as rewards and treats; he will want sweets whenever he is miserable and associate sweets as being part of your loving feelings. He will start seeing sweets as being owed to him whenever something untoward happens to him. Manage a cool approach where sweets are concerned and treat sweets as you would other foods. Of course it is best not to keep sweets in the house and at regular intervals buy your child the less damaging variety in small portions. Ten small sweets seem more to a child than five big ones!

• Look at his lifestyle and then look at yours too; is he glued to the TV or does he expend enough energy on the playground, is he a lot on the floor exploring or stuck in his playpen? The fact remains that children like emulating adults and so does your child emulate you and prefers being a couch potato to an active energetic person? All children, more so an overweight child needs other children and adults to run around with and away from. They can learn games like catch ball in the company of an active adult or rolling on the ground from other kids. As your kid progresses from crawling to walking, he will want to be on the move - encourage this as it will do him good physically and mentally.

• With an older kid, be wary of snack foods. Three square meals just won't do - you will need to incorporate snacks, which are essentially mini-meals in between regular meals. Snacks are a necessity and many are interestingly packaged and are more often fun foods containing loads of calories. Because of this snack foods often become nutritionally challenging. A pack of chocolate biscuits for instance isn't very nutritious versus an apple.

A Final Word

All said and done, some toddlers are plump without being fat. Many children are born big and progress into big adults. So as toddlers they appear plump with round cheeks and tummies which stick out. An interesting observation to watch out for is how fat babies in the last weeks prior to moving around slim down rather quickly once they get onto their feet, making plumpness a rather short-lived phase of childhood.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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