6 Strategies For The Management Of Childhood Obesity

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Weight loss | 0 comments

management of childhood obesity

According to a study released by the World Obesity Federation in early 2023, childhood obesity in India is likely to see an annual rise of 9.1 percent by 2035 if prevention and treatment do not improve. Now, that’s a serious risk that needs to be addressed immediately.

Childhood obesity has become a serious health issue worldwide in recent decades. It is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. 

Obesity in children is a complex disease with various genetic, behavioural, and environmental factors influencing its development. If left unaddressed, the management of childhood obesity often extends into adulthood and can lead to long-term health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. 

In this blog, we discuss six effective strategies parents can use to help manage their child’s weight and promote a healthier lifestyle. Adopting some of these strategies can help your child achieve a healthier weight and set them up for overall wellness.

Keep reading to know more!

Why Is Childhood Obesity On The Rise?

Childhood obesity rates have risen dramatically in recent decades. A number of causes have led to this alarming increase. 

  • Changes in food choices are one key factor. Children increasingly consume foods high in sugar, fat, and calories but poor in nutrients. They also eat meals outside of the home more frequently. 
  • Another important factor is a lack of physical activity.  Many children spend more time engaged with screens instead of playing actively. 
  • Furthermore, hectic school schedules leave less time for sports and outdoor activities, making them tired and too lazy to pick up sports or any activity that involves physical energy.
  • Genetic factors and medical conditions can also influence weight in some cases. 
  • The easy availability and aggressive marketing of unhealthy, highly processed foods also encourage overeating. 
  • Finally, emotional and mental factors like stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to emotional binge eating of unhealthy food, causing drastic weight gain in children.

As a result, too many children are consuming more calories than they burn on a daily basis, contributing to childhood obesity on a larger scale. 

How To Determine Whether Your Child Is Obese

Before you make any decisions and changes to your child’s lifestyle based on any assumptions, it’s always better to steer clear of any concerns and be sure of what you’re doing.

While obesity is indeed an alarming concern among children, you first need to determine if your child is actually obese or if it’s just the growth hormones playing their part. 

Determining whether your child is obese can be done by checking their Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a simple calculation based on their height and weight. Here’s how you can do it:

  • First, measure your child’s height in inches or centimetres and weight in pounds or kilograms. Make sure you use an accurate scale and measuring tape.
  • Use the following formula to calculate their BMI: 
BMI = (Weight in kg) / (Height in meters squared)
  • Once you have their BMI, you can compare it to the BMI-for-age growth charts provided by the World Health Organization (WHO). This will help you determine if your child’s BMI falls within the healthy weight range or if they are overweight or obese.
BMI between 85th and 94th percentilesOverweight
BMI 95th percentile or aboveObese
BMI 99th percentile or higherSeverely obese

Remember that BMI is only one way to check obesity, and it is critical to visit a medical professional for a thorough assessment of your child’s health and to discuss any weight-related issues.

The 6 Strategies For Management of Childhood Obesity

Managing childhood obesity requires a holistic approach that involves not just diet and exercise but also lifestyle changes and family support. Here are six effective strategies to help control childhood obesity:

6. Follow A Balanced Diet

Encourage your kid to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Concentrate on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Sugary snacks, sodas, and high-fat, high-calorie foods should be avoided. 

To promote good eating habits, encourage regular meal times and family dinners.

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5. Include Regular Physical Activity

Encourage your child to be physically active on a regular basis. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense activity each day. Find things they enjoy, whether it’s sports, biking, dancing, or simply going on brisk walks as a family.

4. Limit The Kid’s Screen Time

Reduce the time your child spends in front of screens, including TVs, computers, and smartphones. Set precise screen time limits for your children and encourage them to participate in other pastimes such as reading, playing outside, or making crafts.

3. Pay Attention To Portion Control

Teach your child the importance of portion control. Avoid huge meals and educate them on how to tell when they are full. Overeating and emotional eating can result from using food as a reward or comfort.

2. Ensure Adequate Sleep

Make sure your child gets adequate sleep. Inadequate sleep has been linked to childhood weight gain and obesity. You can set a consistent bedtime routine for them and make sure they get the proper amount of sleep for their age. A well-rested kid is a healthy kid!

1. Finally, Make Sure Your Kid Is Hydrated At All Times

Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Thirst is frequently misinterpreted as hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Sugary drinks, such as soda and fruit juice, should also be avoided as they might lead to an increase in calorie intake.

Remember, dealing with childhood obesity is a slow and steady process that demands patience and perseverance. Create a pleasant, supportive environment that encourages healthy habits, and be a role model for your child by adopting these habits yourself.

Coping And Support For Obese Children

Childhood obesity can be challenging for both parents and kids. But as parents, it’s your responsibility to make your child feel loved and appreciated no matter what. Be open and direct to your child about conversations on health and fitness.

If you’re not sure how to support them, here are some points to keep in mind while dealing with an obese kid:

  • Avoid negative conversations about your child’s weight: It’s important to avoid negative discussions about your (or someone’s) child’s weight. Focus on their overall health and well-being rather than their appearance, which can lead to low self-esteem and poor body image. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

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  • Don’t encourage dieting or skipping meals: Encourage a balanced approach to eating. Avoid strict diets or skipping meals, as they can be harmful to your kid’s health. Instead, emphasise the importance of nutritious, whole foods.
  • Always find a reason to be appreciative of your child’s efforts: Make sure your child knows how much you appreciate what they do.  Whether it’s making healthier food choices or being more active, celebrate their small victories along the way.
  • Help your child set positive and realistic goals: Encourage your child to set positive and achievable goals that focus on health, like increasing physical activity or trying healthy foods rather than just losing weight.
  • Talk to your child about their feelings and thoughts: Open and direct communication is key. Always be ready to listen to your child’s feelings and thoughts and include them in healthy conversations about weight loss. 

Be a good listener and provide a safe space for them to express their concerns or fears.

  • Stay patient throughout their weight loss journey: Remember that sustainable weight loss is a journey that takes time. Stay patient and supportive throughout this process. Avoid pushing too hard, as it can create stress and frustration.
  • Be a role model to your kid: Children often pick up lessons from examples. Set a good example for your children by developing healthy habits for yourself. Share activities like walks, bike rides, or cooking nutritious meals together as a family.

Remember that your love and support are the most valuable tools you can offer your child in their journey towards a healthier weight and a happier life.

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In conclusion, childhood obesity is a serious issue that requires action from parents, healthcare providers, and communities. While it may seem like a difficult challenge to overcome, making minor changes to diet and activity levels can help steer a child towards a healthier weight. 

Remember to be patient with yourself and your child as new habits take time to form. Most importantly, focus on developing healthy attitudes around food and exercise within your family. Management of childhood obesity takes commitment, but the long-term benefits for your child’s well-being are well worth the effort! 

It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before you make any drastic changes to your child’s lifestyle. 

Note: To explore more engaging content and stay connected, feel free to visit VeCura Wellness YouTube channel for exciting videos, insightful discussions, and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the best weight management strategies for obese children?

Some of the best and most effective weight management strategies for obese children include limiting junk food and frequent snacks, reducing screen time, developing healthy eating habits, ensuring adequate sleep and helping them stay active. 

  1. What are the exercises for childhood obesity?

When it comes to childhood obesity, physical activity is key. Make sure your kid spends 20-30 minutes every day doing any kind of physical activity like swimming, dancing, running, or playing any sport. This is more than enough to get them active and lose weight fast.

  1. What is the main cause of childhood obesity?

Behavioural factors like eating larger portions, eating foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients (junk food), spending a lot of time in front of the television or computer, and spending little time doing physical activity are some of the reasons why more and more children are becoming obese.

  1. What are the social factors of childhood obesity?

Social causes for childhood obesity include peer pressure, limited availability to nutrient-dense foods, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating patterns ingrained by families. Cultural norms and socioeconomic status also come into play.

  1. What are the causes of obesity in children in India?

The main reason for childhood obesity in India is the environmental and economic influences. Children are highly exposed to unhealthy junk food and prefer staying in with no scope for physical activity. Genes also play a major role in childhood obesity.

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