Child obesity has been overlooked for long and is usually mistaken for "cute" chubbiness. With all the studies warning against its life-threatening consequences, obesity needs to be perceived as a real health concern that requires urgent treatment. It's fair to say that no loving parent would want to place their baby at risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases or diabetes later in their lifetime.
Studies have shown that overweight children are thought to have insulin resistance and suffer from high blood cholesterol levels. Obesity can cause your baby respiratory problems, disruptions in sleep patterns, in addition to other undesirable hormonal problems. Your child's emotional wellness can also be in danger because of their appearance. Unfortunately, obese children are also more prone to develop psychological problems like depression, stress, and low self-esteem.
The majority of childhood obesity cases can be preventable if parents take immediate action.
But first, what are some causes of child obesity?
Obesity can be traced back to a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic, but while genes take up most of the responsibility, they are not the only factor to blame. Your child might be an emotional eater who finds refuge in food and consumes way more than his daily needs. This problem can get more complicated when parents have little or no awareness of the importance of controlling size portions to maintain a healthy body weight for their child. The type of foods children consume and their physical activity play major roles as well, and this is something parents should take care of.
World Health Organization (WHO) states that babies who are breastfed right after birth and eat solid food after their sixth month face a lower risk of obesity. Before the age of two, parents need to have a balanced diet for their babies that is low on sugar and salt. Moreover, high calorie food with low or no nutritional value should be off the list.
After the age of two, you can allow your child to have sweets in moderation, incorporating more vegetables and fruits into their diet.
Children can't be healthy on their own, they need family support and encouragement to go on. Parents should lead by example and adopt a healthy lifestyle themselves by limiting the consumption of fast food or deep-fried meals and opting for healthier alternatives.
To control your child's portion sizes, it could be a good idea to give them a beautiful medium-size plate to eat off at every meal. Tell them that they have to wait for their father and siblings to eat together so they won't eat twice within a short period of time. Serve them light snacks between meals when they feel hungry. Opt for healthier snacks like flavored yoghurt, fruit milkshakes, or honey-sweetened fruits to curb their cravings for chocolate and unhealthy food.
By the age of three, explain to your child that they'll look their best if they don't gain excess weight. Encourage them to stay active by telling them that they'll grow stronger if they play sports with parents and friends.
At Little Academy Nursery, children's nutrition is a top priority for us. Our fulltime nutritionist is consistently in touch with the parents to help them through adopting a healthier lifestyle. We also have weekly activities at the nursery for children to play sports and do physical exercises that motivate them to stay active.