Causes of Obesity in Children

Babies and toddlers described as chubby, rosy cheeked angels. Obesity is most often associated as a teenage and adult problem. This viewpoint is slowly being changed as a growing number of toddlers are topping their ideal weight charts.

Scientific findings indicate that the number of overweight and obese toddlers have doubled in the last ten years. This is especially troubling because eating habits during toddler hood can dictate the person’s eating habits until adulthood. The ages of 2 to 4 may be a vulnerable period to gain excessive body weight.

Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of fat. You may think that your toddler is just a little healthy for his age but he may already be overweight. To determine if your child is obese consult a weight- height chart and see how where he or she falls.

When a child has the right body weight for his or her height the child is at the 50th percent weight for height. Anything higher than 50 percent means the child weighs more than he or she should for that height. Anything less and he or she weighs less for that height.

Causes of obesity in children

There are a number of causes of childhood obesity. It could be in the genes of both parents. An obese father or mother will likely have obese children. Another contributing factor could be unhealthy eating habits. Children are also eating more preprepared foods which contain higher levels of fat. They are also snacking on junk food and drinking soda pop. Toddlers are also simply not getting enough exercise. Parents are finding less and less time for their children and simply plant them in front of the television.

It may be shocking to be advocating healthy eating habits and exercise for toddlers but the problem of obesity is a serious matter. It is hard enough to lose weight without having additional problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood disease, liver disease and joint problems. Children who are obese are more in danger of becoming obese in adulthood.

What parents should do?

For parents there is no need to despair. Much like an adult dieting plan making children lose unwanted weight is simply changing their lifestyle. Here are a few pointers in making sure your child grows to be a healthy and hopefully slim adult.

Eat Healthy. Toddlers should eat five fruits and vegetables a day. 2 servings of milk, 2 servings of protein food and 6 servings of grain products will give your toddler a healthier diet. Cut down on the fat rich snacks or sweets. Children’s servings are supposed to lower than an adult’s portion.

Be Active. Any form of exercise would do your toddler a world of good. Television watching should be limited to a 2 hour period every day. Children are naturally active so parents should encourage them with a variety of activities. Take your children for walks every morning.

The Family that Eats Healthy Lives Longer. Most parents of overweight children are overweight themselves. A change in your toddler’s eating habits wouldn’t be effective if you yourself are keeping junk food around the house. Eliminate soft drinks and snacks around the house. Eat as a family to monitor your child’s food intake. A healthy lifestyle will benefit both the toddler and the rest of the family.