Problems with childhood obesity in India
Obesity is a commonly used term that means being overweight. This means if a person is 20% more than his/her ideal weight, he/she is suffering from obesity. India is in the 3rd position for the highest obese population in the world, the US being the 1st and china the 2nd. Even after having 270 million people living below the poverty line, a large number of people in India are suffering from obesity.
Majorly adults are not the ones who are suffering from obesity, it has become a common disease in children as well. About 41 million children in this world are suffering from obesity as of 2016, if this trend of overweight and obese children continues in that age group, the number could increase to 70 million by 2025.
According to the studies, World Health Organization has said that Child obesity is emerging as one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Children below the age of 5 are also suffering from this disease.
Childhood obesity has become a problem for Indians as at a very young age children are suffering from other harmful diseases caused by obesity. Knowing about what obesity is very important because it’s not a disease that can be solved by medicines but it’s a whole lifestyle change.
Obesity Symptoms :
When you see your child is putting on too much weight because of too much consumption of junk and sugary drinks and food, that is the time you know that your child is indulging in obesity. But just by looking at the child, you will not be able to say whether the child is suffering from obesity or not because it’s not a necessity that all the children carrying extra pounds are obese or overweight as it varies from child to child as some have larger body frames than the other.
Not only this but all children have different amounts of body fat at different stages of growth and development. That is the reason why you should consult a doctor who has various types of methods to check whether your child is overweight or is suffering from obesity by doing the body mass index (BMI), growth charts and other tests. A doctor is the best person to guide you with the reasons for this disease and how to overcome it as this problem needs a specialist.
Causes of Obesity :
The most important reason for obesity is having an unhealthy lifestyle but that is not the only reason for childhood obesity. Few more reasons are :
- Diet – Regularly indulging into junk food and sweets and baked food and sugary drinks are a few reasons why your child gains weight. Pastries, candies and even fruit juices contain sugar and are reasons for obesity.
- Lack of physical activity – These days we see children playing video games or watching videos and rhymes and not playing any outdoor games. Because of this, there is a lack of physical activity in them due to which they become lazy and gain weight.
- Family factors – Child obesity can sometimes be genetic as well but this can be known by tests only. But if your parents are obese it’s likely for you to be obese as well due to the family environment where high-calorie food is always available and encouragement for physical activity is less.
- Psychological factors – Family, personal and parental stress also increases the child’s risk of obesity as they tend to eat when they are stressed or sometimes they eat to fight boredom. That is why having mental peace is also very important.
If your child starts with being overweight or obese he/she will likely be like that in their adulthood as well which will cause them various physical and social and emotional complications.
Physical complications :
- Diabetes – Excessive indulgence in sugary food and drinks can cause you diabetes.
- Metabolic syndrome – An unhealthy diet can cause cardiovascular diseases and other health problems like high cholesterol and excess abdominal fat.
- High cholesterol and high blood pressure – Not indulging the right type of food can cause you high cholesterol and high blood pressure which later in life can cause you a heart attack or stroke.
- Sleeping disorders – Your child can have sleeping disorders like obstructive sleep apnea where the child’s breathing stops and start during sleep. A few other physical disorders are fatty liver and bone fractures, which are seen at a very young age.
Social and emotions complications :
- Low self-esteem and being bullied – Generally, fit children bully children who are fat due to which an obese child has suffered from self-esteem which can lead to depression.
- Behavior and learning problem– Children who are overweight have a problem like anxiety and poor social skills.
- Depression – Low self-esteem creates hopelessness in the child which leads to depression.
After seeing the causes and complications, steps should be taken to prevent child obesity. Few of the steps are –
- Avoiding sugary drinks and food
- Indulging into fruits and vegetables
- Eating together as a family whole
- Limit eating outsides fast food and make healthier choices
- Doing more of physical activities and keeping yourself physically fit
- Getting enough sleep
Also, it is suggested to have a regular BMI checkup done by your doctor so that you get to know about your body as your BMI changes from time to time depending upon your food habits and physical activities.
That’s why parents should be smart and take smart steps to save their child from obesity and not seek in and destroy the happiness of their child, as an obese child goes through a lot not just physically but mentally as well and feels depressed and bullied when he/she is not being able to follow the latest fashion trends due to its overweight.
Let your child play and cut down their television time. Say no to junk and eat healthy not only for the kids but the parents as well so that your child follows your footprints. Last but not the least, seek professional help and not judge on your own.
Modern medicines and treatments have progressed a lot to prevent us from some extreme cases of obesity through bariatric surgery. This bariatric surgery is not encouraged until and unless there is an extreme case as it is a life-changing decision instead. A lifestyle change is generally recommended but this does not mean that this surgery is a shortcut to reducing weight as in this surgery the baggy part is removed and the stomach is stapled making it a tune stomach that can take in less capacity of food.
The patient has to go through a strict diet after the operation is done and has to take in a lot of medicines. Even this surgery is not an easy thing to do that’s why the doctors don’t suggest it if it is not an extreme case. The best way to fight obesity is a complete lifestyle change and if that’s not possible, surgery is there to make your life easy.