Child Obesity — an increasing concern among parents

Child obesity is one of the most concerning areas and an epidemic in India. It is observed that obesity numbers are increasing and one of the study revealed that ~12% of children are obese between 2yr to 4yr age group. Obese mothers will have double the risk of having obese children and obese children will make obese adults.

Obesity is difficult to treat in children; hence, it is best to prevent it. According to some available studies, heredity, mobile phones, video games, television, computer, eating habits & sedentary life are the major external risk factors of child obesity.

 

  1. Improve Eating pattern for Children
  • Serve only healthy food for children. They should be encouraged to eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, whole pulses, milk etc. Habits can be developed from the time you introduce weaning food. And in a later stage, encourage them to eat healthy food for which unique recipes can be tried.
  • School snacks should be healthy and junk food should be avoided, irrespective of the school timings. It is highly recommended to parents to ensure that healthy food is packed in their lunch boxes. There are numerous recipes available online.
  • Engage them in physical activities like swimming or cycling. Promotes outdoor games to your child.
  • Reduce television, mobile phone and computer usage. Promote other indoor games that boost their creativity and mental strengths. It is one of the major problems since it also affects eyes & personality development at a young age.
  • Let your child be a part of kitchen culture and let him/her help in planning a family food menu to encourage healthy meals.

Obese children should be encouraged to eat healthy foods that are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Regular use of fatty and sugary foods like ice-creams, chips, chocolates, cold drinks, fried snacks, and carbonated beverages should be discouraged.

 

  1. Controlling Child’s obesity when they are overweight
  • Food without additional fats or starch.
  • Salads from raw tomato, cucumber, cabbage, capsicum, radish, lettuce & carrots. Also sprouted moon and bengal gram can be served.
  • Avoid root vegetables like potato, beetroot etc.
  • High calorie fruits like mangoes and bananas to be ignored during diets.
  • Chicken/Fish should be roasted or grilled only.
  • Eat cottage cheese instead of processed cheese.
  • Avoid all fried foods.
  • Avoid concentrated sweets like sugar, ice-cream, puddings, chocolates etc. (any high fat and sugar item).
  • Limit cooking fat.

Controlling diet for young kids is difficult. You can introduce different recipes to promote a healthy diet to control obesity in your child. It is good to consult your nutritionist so diet plans can be prepared as per the BMI.

 

  1. Tips for Healthy Lifestyle
  • Eat a wholesome balanced meal (Five Food Groups).
  • Use whole grain cereals, whole pulses, green leafy vegetables and fruits in routine.
  • For non-vegetarians, include fish instead of red meat. In chicken, eat the breast part instead of the thigh part.
  • Maintain body weight & Have regular body checkups of anthropometric parameters like height, weight & BMI.
  • Regular workout or physical activities is a must.
  • Promotes outdoor games, cycling and so on to cuts down their screen times.

Consult your pediatrician, & nutritionist for the child's growth & development and healthy lifestyle.