Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition affecting in increasing number of children and adolescents. Acknowledging it as a genuine current and future health problem both for the individual child and for society in general, is the first step to understanding and addressing the causes of child obesity.
It is true that genetic causes are one of the reasons for this problem, but poor nutrition with excess calories and a sedentary lifestyle are also major factors in increasing body fat.
A study published in 2022, by the House of Commons Library, with information for the years 2020-2021, reveals that in England:
14.4% of children between 4 and 5 years old are obese;
13.3% are considered above the normal weight;
Between 10 and 11 years old, 25.5% of children are obese, while 15.4% are overweight.
Childhood obesity can increase low self-esteem and even lead to depression. There is also an increased risk of developing other pathologies such as diabetes, hypertension and joint pain. As a family, you can create small healthy routines, such as:
- Positively reinforce the child’s achievements;
- Avoid ready-to-eat foods, processed foods/fast food;
- Encourage the child to eat more fruits and vegetables;
- Increase water intake as this can suppress food cravings;
- Limit portion sizes and snacking between meals;
- Encourage the practice of physical exercise;
- Determine time limits for using TV and video games;
- Maintain consistency in your advice and examples;
- Invest quality time with your family.
The family has a very important role in this process, because the child sees parents as role models.
Remember that obesity carries serious health risks for everyone. If you need guidance, our nutritionist can help you to create an individualized meal plan tailored to your child’s needs. “