CSR

COMMON CAUSES OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Obesity is fast becoming a burgeoning epidemic the world over. And it’s not just the adults that are affected, but children too. Over the past 30 years, the incidence of childhood obesity has more than doubled. Our environment, the choices we make as parents, genes as well as the metabolism all play a role in childhood obesity.

We are increasingly becoming a sedentary society where any form of physical activity has to be planned ahead like a major event with much effort. We are also being bombarded with food, whether it’s in the form of advertisements on billboards and television or its easy accessibility in out-of-the-way places like fuel stations. We not only have options to eat at home, but also to eat out in restaurants, or if you are too tired, then there is always the option for a ‘take-away’ parcel. Most of these food options aren’t wholesome like our grandmother used to make, rather they are loaded with calories and come in attractive packaging to entice the minds of innocent kids to splurge out. Portion sizes are also increasing along with calorie-rich foods on offer.

Obesity is a complex health issue that doesn’t occur overnight; it happens over time when the balance between the energy taken in is not in proportion to the energy burnt. Obesity in childhood can lead to long-lasting health problems that don’t become apparent till in the later years and these include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, certain cancers, heart diseases, depression, musculoskeletal disorders, etc. Obese children are also more likely to become obese adults.

There is no one single factor that causes childhood obesity; rather there are numerous possible reasons. Of course the most glaring factor is unhealthy eating habits. Unhealthy lunchbox options coupled up with high-calorie fast foods and snacks as well as the sugar-laden sodas are all favorites of the modern generation kids. The Indian diet is loaded with fried foods that works like a magnet for children, and in the absence of parental control, it could very well contribute to weight gain.

Improvement in standard of living has affected lifestyle in more ways than one. With everyone now having access to a two-wheeler, if not a four-wheeler, the primary physical activity of walking has been grossly cut down. There is a scarcity of parks in the cities and where there are, parents may not have time to take their kids for outdoor play. This results in calorie intake, but minimal output.

Improvement in standard of living has affected lifestyle in more ways than one. With everyone now having access to a two-wheeler, if not a four-wheeler, the primary physical activity of walking has been grossly cut down. There is a scarcity of parks in the cities and where there are, parents may not have time to take their kids for outdoor play. This results in calorie intake, but minimal output.

Genetic factors could also lead to obesity where excess weight runs in the family due to some metabolic abnormality or rarely, obesity could be due to some medical condition like hormone problems.

Timely intervention by changing the child’s eating habits by introducing healthier foods and down-sizing on the high-calorie foods as well as making them understand about the importance of being physically active, all works out in the end towards improving your child’s weight and related issues.

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