Preventing Child Obesity

One of the most health concern identified for children is obesity. In the past few years, the number of children suffering from this health problem has increased. More and more health associations are instituted to address obesity.

In our society, fondness for seemingly healthy- perceived  stout children is seen as a recognition equated to being a responsible parent. Showing off a plump child gives a sense of pride to some parents. However, having an overweight child can post more health problems than we think. From being an overweight, a child becomes vulnerable to becoming obese particularly when changes are not made in their activities.  In such cases, habits are important factors in reinforcing the obesity of a child.

The cases of obesity among children is rampant because of the lack of knowledge of parents in keeping their children in good diet. But to say that this is just the reason, is very simplistic. In 2004, studies have shown that obesity has become an epidemic that it caught the eyes of researchers and medical practitioners to address this health problem. Luckily more studies and programs to decrease the cases of obesity are more accessible.

Obesity is identified by national health policy makers as the largest health problem for children. Children who are obese undergo physical as well as emotional problem.  This would include the feeling of  diminished lifestyle due to less physical activity added on by the scrutiny of community. It  is a product of interrelated factors of a bio-psychosocial nature. These factors include the individual’s genetic make-up, temperament, dietary choices, activity level, and familial , societal and cultural environment. 

Obesity Uncovered

Health problems are common in obese children and adolescents and can affect one’s cardiovascular health such as hypercholesterolemia and dyslipidemia,hypertension, the endocrine system like hyperinsulinism,insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, menstrual irregularity, and mental health. Children suffering from obesity can and at some point experience depression and low self-esteem.

The psychological stress of social stigma imposed on obese children is as damaging as the medical morbidities. The negative images of obesity are so drastic that growth failure and pubertal delay have been reported in children practicing self-imposed caloric restriction because of fears of becoming obese.

Dealing with Obesity

It has already been mentioned that obesity may also be caused by genetic makeup of the individual. However, triggering obesity can be prevented and to prevent it, the immediate group or family of the child can initiate and reinforce behaviors that do can avoid obesity.

In a multifaceted context, it is necessary and essential for families and children to learn the fundamental skills and attitudes— self- regulation of emotion and appetite. Such skills and acquired behavior can provide a basis for a quality parent-child interaction, healthy peer relationship, higher self- esteem, and control of emotions without having to compromise physical needs.

Skills must be able to process anger, frustration, sadness, or the need for comfort by being able to speak and open up to a trusted family member, friend or any significant person in replacement of taking food to comfort and address these emotions. Building these skills equip the navigation of any familial, societal, and cultural obstacles to healthy body  with the feeling of self worth.

The development of internal motivation and self belief occurs only when children/ families integrate the cognitive knowledge and the above mentioned foundation skills. Given with such knowledge, the readiness for change allows the child/family to build realistic goals towards a healthier lifestyle.

Constantly, health professionals are the child and the families’ partner in advancing the movement towards healthy choices. They offer strategies that can solve the barrier’s for each individual’s bio-psychosocial make-up.

Will power to overcome obesity is a key attitude to put a stop to it. To spare and secure our children of a better life is a better reward for every parent. As a family or significant person on the child’s life, it is our main responsibility to assist them in the changes of behavior and activity. It will be tough starting out to break the routine requiring patience, hard work, and of course love for our kids.