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Childhood Obesity - Causes and Prevention

Updated on 8 July 2022

Obesity is a problem that can cause many other health problems if not dealt with properly. In this condition, fat gets deposited in some areas and in some inner parts of the body. Children are also getting affected by this due to their sedentary habits. Eating too much fat is the main cause of obesity as it gets stored in our body muscles. 

Children start gaining weight due to lack of exercise and improper diet which leads to a condition known as obesity. Obesity is not transmitted from one person to another but sometimes a family history is present due to which children also become obese. Obesity in children can also produce many serious health effects such as an increased risk for heart problems, diabetes, kidney diseases, etc.

Causes of Obesity in Children

Many factors are responsible for causing obesity in children. Some of the important causes of childhood obesity are:

  • Children who eat more and exercise less are at a risk to increase their body weight. Increased intake of junk food, sweets, aerated drinks, and unhealthy food can lead to obesity in children.

  • Lack of exercise is another leading cause of obesity in children. Children who have a sedentary lifestyle and do not take part in physical exercise become obese after a certain period. Due to sedentary habits, the food remains undigested and gets stored in the body muscles. This increases the body weight in children.

  • Less sleep: Children must sleep for 7-8 hours to keep their bodies optimally healthy. If children are not getting the optimum amount of sleep they can become obese. Some children keep awake for long hours at night due to studies or for watching unnecessary things on mobile gadgets that can cause insufficient sleep in them.

  • Some foods are not good for the body because they interfere with fat metabolism. Fructose is a type of sugar present in certain foods and it interferes with fat metabolism and leads to the deposition of fat in the liver in children. Thus children who are taking more fructose may disturb their fat metabolism. This leads to the accumulation of fats in the body muscles and can make them obese.

  • Over-the-counter drugs: Giving too many over-the-counter medications to children can affect their health and can make them obese. 

  • In some children, thyroid dysfunction can also cause obesity. Therefore, if a child is gaining weight rapidly you must consult with a doctor for a proper diagnosis of the condition. The imbalance of the thyroid hormones can also cause weight gain in children.

Tips for Preventing Obesity in Children

Parents can reduce the risk of obesity in children by helping their children in the following ways:

  • Obese children should go for regular exercise. They must do physical exercise two times a day. They can take part in sports or play outside games to maintain a healthy body weight. Obese children should take part in sports to manage weight and for staying physically fit and healthy.

  • Parents should ensure that children eat a healthy diet. They should ensure that their children are not eating junk food. Eating excessive junk food is not good for the body as junk food does not provide the necessary nutrients to the body. Junk food not only leads to obesity but can also cause other health problems. Therefore, parents should encourage children to eat a healthy diet including green leafy vegetables and fruits.

  • Parents should ensure that their children sleep properly with comfort and that they take enough sleep for the proper functioning of their body organs. Children who are obese must sleep for 7-8 hours for the normal functioning of their body parts.

Children should be tested at the pediatric hospital in Bhubaneswar to understand the main cause of obesity and if weight gain is due to thyroid dysfunction parents must consult with a doctor for proper treatment. Thyroid dysfunction in children must be treated by a qualified medical doctor to reduce the risk of obesity.

Conclusion

Children who want to lose weight should change their lifestyle and eating habits. They should avoid eating fatty and junk food. They must exercise regularly. A simple half hour walk is sufficient to stay fit and healthy. Thus, it is important to understand the causes and risks associated with obesity in children to prevent complications. 

CARE Hospitals is regarded as the best pediatric hospital in Bhubaneswar. We have a team of the best pediatrician in Bhubaneswar who specialise in providing treatments for childhood obesity.

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