“Fun Fact: Chubby is no longer cute”
Modern day technology has given rise to benefits manifold and people all around the world have taken a liking to the lifestyle that it has given rise to. But, little do they know that the same technology and comforting lifestyle is eating into their lives, a case in point being child obesity. With an estimated 3 in every 10 children reported to be obese, the figures suggest threatening times ahead. Read on to find out more.
The cold facts:
Child obesity is a term, which generally refers to a condition where a child has gained excessive amount of bad fat for the age group he/ she belongs to. The factors could vary right from sedentary lifestyle, medical illness to psychological factors. Assessment is generally done by a technique called as Body Mass Index or BMI.
BMI covers a lot of factors such as skinfold thickness, waist circumference etc. all equally important in judging a person’s health. If a child happens to have a BMI greater than the 95th percentile, then s/he is categorized as obese or overweight. Down around the 50th percentile mark can be termed as the pink of health.
Genetics and social status have also played a major role in child obesity. Studies have shown that an offspring of 2 overweight parents is 10 times more likely to be obese, than that of their healthier counterparts. Also, children having high socio-economic background have a habit of spending more time in front of the T.V, computers or playing video games as compared to their less fortunate friends.
What it means for the child in question
There are obvious ramifications of obesity, both physical and psychological. The physical effects can range from the mild huffing and puffing during a physical activity to the life threatening diabetes, hypertension, sleeping disorder etc.
The psychological factors include teasing and heckling by peers and even some members of the family. Such a situation can give rise to low self-esteem and may even lead to the child slipping into a state of depression.
Long term health effects also have to be kept in mind. A 2008 study suggested that children who grew up as obese were more likely to remain obese in their adulthood as well. In such cases, premature aging and flagging skin were almost always common, along with a host of other illnesses.
The KEY to it all
A child, who is overweight, has no option, but to depend on his/ her parents for guidance. This is the key to it all. Too many times, parents turn a blind eye to the child’s fitness. They are proud of the fact that their child is a ‘chubby bobby’ and often mistake it as a sign of good health. The belief that children will eventually get in shape is a myth that needs to be weeded out.
Keeping a keen eye on their activities and looking for signs like laziness, excessive panting after a normal activity is a must. Promoting a sporty and outbound culture is important. Activities like group sports, playing in the park, meditation and yoga will not only allow him/her to get rid of the excess fat, but also enhance self-belief and team building skills.
Parents need to lead the way, if they intend to see their children fit. Start by maintaining a healthy diet that is devoid of calorie rich foodstuffs like burgers, pizzas and carbonated beverages. Exercise at least thrice a week. Limiting television time and video gaming to about 2 hours or less can help immensely. Going one step ahead and consulting the school’s medical officer or counselor for proper medication and advice can streamline the process.
It is only fair to say that parents, more than anyone else, have the largest impact on a child’s life. And so, a change of outlook regarding child fitness is extremely important for a brighter future.