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Overweight Children Cannot Enjoy More Outdoors

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Obesity in Children

Obesity in Children

It used to be that children would play outdoors in the streets, parks, playgrounds and the like. Now, due to modernization, children have turned to video games, television and computers to while away their time. A new disease has emerged among our children: obesity. Obesity has become an epidemic among children and adult alike nowadays.

Now, what's wrong with having fat, cuddly children? The fact is, obesity carries a lot of health risks such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and metabolism syndrome, especially later in life. You don't want to see your children dying earlier, would you? The truth is, many children nowadays are struggling with excess weight, especially those belonging to the age range of 5 to 11 years old. As a parent or a caregiver, you can do a lot of things to prevent your child from excessive weight gain.

It is often hard to tell that a kid is overweight or not, since we have grown to the misconception that a fat kid is a healthy kid. However, you can determine so by calculating body mass index (BMI). The BMI is calculated using a person's weight and height, and the results are categorized as underweight, normal weight and overweight. In children, the BMI is often dependent on age and sex, and its results can be compared using a growth chart. In this growth chart, you will know how your child's BMI compares with the other BMIs of kids his or her age. Children are considered to have normal weight if their BMI belongs to the 5th to 84th percentile; they are considered to be overweight if their BMI belongs to the 85th to 94th percentile, and obese if their BMI belongs to the 95th percentile or greater.

A recent study has shown that overweight children are less active as compared to those with normal weight. In this study from the University of Copenhagen’s OPUS Research Centre, it was shown that physical activity is vital especially for overweight children, and that slender children usually do not become overweight when they lack physical activity. Those children who are overweight become less active and pursue sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing computer games and surfing the internet. As a result, these overweight sedentary children continue to put on more weight, further limiting their capacity for physical activity. This means to show that a sedentary lifestyle can put on more weight for children than food intake alone.

What Can You Do?

Parents and caregivers should address this issue of a growing obesity epidemic. Obese children may soon develop breathing and pain problems, and later on may develop diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol levels at an early age. As they grow old, they become obese adults who are targets of social humiliation, morbidity and mortality. As a parent or caregiver, you can help by making your child develop healthy eating habits. You can prepare healthy snacks for your children such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals. You should limit feeding them with saturated fats such as butter and lard, high-calorie laden foods such as chips, cookies and candy. You should avoid too much refined grains such as rice, white bread and pasta. Your children should have a balanced intake if fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts seeds, fat-free milk and dairy products, lean meat , poultry, fish, seafood, eggs and soy products.

Aside from their eating habits, you should encourage more physical activity. Let them engage in outdoor sports along with the other members of the family. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. You should be a good example to your children by maintaining proper diet, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

Want to know how to stay healthy most of the time? Check out our other articles on this site.