Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (September) part II

If your child is suffering from Childhood Obesity, here is all you need to do:

Treatments

The age of the child or any other medical conditions are considered before a treat for childhood obesity is decided. The treatment generally if inclusive of diet changes of the child and increase physical activity. At other times, medications or weight-loss surgery is the solution:

Treatment for children below 7 years of age

If a child below 7 years of age has no other medical condition, the main focus becomes weight maintenance instead of weight loss. This helps your child in adding a few inches in his height, thus dropping BMI-for-age. For an obese child, this is difficult but not impossible.

Treatment for children age 7 and above

Weight loss in children of this age-group with related health concerns has to be slow and steady that results in around 0.5 kilograms in a week to 1 pound in a month, as per the condition of the child. The child should consume a healthy diet and increase physical activity. To bring-in these changes, commitment is extremely necessary.

Healthy eating

A parent of an obese child is the one who decides what his child will eat. Even small changes can help a lot:

  • At the time of grocery shopping, pick more of fruits and vegetables and completely avoid cookies, prepared meals, and fatty food. Such food items are responsible for destroying the signals that stomach sends to the brain. Go for healthy snacking.
  • Bring down the consumption of sweetened beverages as they only add calories and have little nutritional value.
  • Cut down the number of eating-out occasions, mainly in fast-food joints, this will automatically help.
  • Make your meals family meals where you share experiences with each other. No eating in front of the TV or computer when one sometimes one losts count of what he ate.

Physical activity

Physical activity is a very important part of a child’s weight loss not only to burn the calories but also to make his muscles and bones strong.  Your child remains alert during the day and maintains a healthy weight. Limit TV watching or video game timing. Encourage him to play games in the playground. A parent should try to find’s his child’s hobby and encourage it. You should yourself set an example for him. Change the activities of your child on a regular basis so that he does not get bored.

Medications

There are weight-loss drugs too but only for adolescents older than 12 years of age. This  medicine prevents the absorption of fat in the intestines. However, medication is not prescribed for adolescents because its long-term effects are not known.

Weight-loss surgery

Weight-loss surgery is a safe and effective option for an extremely obese adolescent who has not been able to lose weight using conventional weight-loss methods. Nevertheless, its potential risks cannot be sidelined and its long-term effects. And thus this is an uncommon solution. This surgery is only advised by doctors if the risks of surgery are far less than the risk posed by the child’s weight. Surgery is generally followed by diet plan and physical activity.

Lifestyle and home remedies

As surgery and medication is not for children age 7 and younger and is not usually recommended for children older than 7, adopting lifestyle changes is the best thing to treat childhood obesity. Just follow:

Healthy eating

  • Parents should be careful that while shopping for groceries, they should buy for of fruits, vegetables and healthy snacking options
  • Cookies, prepared meals, food high in fats and sugar should be avoided completely
  • Bring down the consumption sweetened drinks.
  • Encourage family meals.
  • No eating in front of computer, video games and TV.
  • Avoid eating out in fast-food restaurants

Physical activity

  • Physical activity and not exercise is the key for obese kids
  • Physical activity not only burns calories but also strengthens bones and muscles
  • The child remains alert during the day
  • Limit Computer, TV watching and video-game time
  • Encourage your child to go and play in the playground
  • Set an example for your child by being active yourself
  • Change your kid’s activities regularly

Coping and support

Parents are the ones who play an important role in helping their child in controlling his weight. It is very important that you boost self-esteem in your child whenever you feel the time is right. You can discuss health with him but not all the time. Following is advisable:

  • You should try to instill good eating habits and encourage him to be active but it is very important that you should be sensitive towards his needs and feelings. His comfort is of prime importance.
  • You should find occasions to praise the efforts that your child is putting in. Encourage him on his accomplishments.
  • It is very important that you should him in achieving his goals.
  • It is required that your child should talk his heart out to you.

Prevention

Whether or not your child is overweight or has health issues, it is necessary to take preventive steps:

  • You should take your child to the doctor regularly for regular measurement of his weight and height.
  • You should set an example for your kid by eating right and exercising regularly for maintaining your weight.
  • You should set food as punishment or reward option for him.
  • You should stress on the benefits of eating a healthy diet. Tell him the benefits of physical activity.
  • You should be patient towards your child’s efforts. Changes do not come overnight. Give him time.

Facts 

  • In the past 30 years, the issue of Childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents.
  • In the year 2010, even more than one third of children as well as adolescents were either overweight or obese.
  • The term Overweight refers to having excess body weight in comparison to a particular height.
  • Overweight and obesity is a result of ‘imbalance in calories’ and affects environmental, genetic, and behavior factors.

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