As we continue to love junk food and also encourage our children to eat them in the same volume, researchers have rung the warning bell saying some 268 million children aged between five and seventeen may turn overweight across the globe by 2025. That's a massive number, isn't it?
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And the villain called 'Obesity' alone can increase from 76 million children in 2010 to 91 million in 2025, the study published in Pediatric Obesity journal, said. The research also estimated that by 2025, 12 million children will have a disrupted glucose tolerance, 4 million will suffer from type-2 diabetes, 27 million will have hypertension, 38 million will have fat build-up in the liver, etc.
Though the World Health Organisation has vowed to put a check on obesity levels for infants, adolescents and adults by 2025, the researchers have not sounded much optimistic as they think a comprehensive plan is required to deal with the challenge.
Time to set the ball rolling:
But the WHO and other health bodies will only succeed if we, the common people, make the first move at home.
Obesity is a problem associated with unhealthy eating habits and very less physical activity. Obesity is also seen to increase in children with age. Therefore, as the ill habits are established early in life, it is also essential that we execute the counter-measures early.
Determining whether a child is overweight:
It is not a right approach to determine a child's weight just on the basis of perception. Children have a fast-growing body and assessing whether they are obese or not is a specialist's job. Children's height and weight have to be taken into consideration and compared to their previous growth patterns.
Don't put children on diet:
Since children are in their formative years, it is not right to put them on a diet as a measure to control their growing weight unless it is prescribed by the doctor. A restrictive diet may deprive them of the necessary nutrients required for normal growth.
How to address weight problem in children? Here are some tips:
Teach children healthy eating habits. Encourage them to have natural food products like vegetables and fruits that supply necessary nutrients.
Focus on nutrition education so that they imbibe the lessons at a younger age and the awareness stays for life.
Discourage them from eating junk food. Give them home-made food for snacks in school and meals at home instead of processed and packaged foods picked from stores. Think more about the child's health than saving time. But give them occasional treats so that it is balanced out.
Help the overweight children shed their kilos collectively. Instead of setting them apart, involve the entire family in following better food habits so that the overweight children also gain among all. This way, it won't hurt them emotionally.
Give the children a wide variety of healthy foods to choose from. Limiting the options can make them depressed eaters.
Discourage children from eating while viewing television. This way, children don't focus on their feeling of fullness and end up overeating.
Push the children for more physical activities and discourage sedentary lifestyle. This will help them burn calories and feel hungry and eat more healthy stuff.
Involve children while preparing food at home. This will help you understand their food preferences and teach them about nutritional values of different foods.
Children are often influenced by the company they keep. Hence, it is also important to train their little friends on food habits so that they think alike on nutrition.
Plan family get-togethers and prepare healthy dishes for the occasion so that the children learn about good foods in unison.
Make the above a routine in the life of your kids which will enable them to develop good habits that they can't afford to miss. You will prove those researchers wrong and they would be most happy about it.