By Dr. Ajish. T.P| 0 Comments

Changing lifestyle and dietary habits resulted in marked increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity in last two decades. There are several health problems associated with obesity. Overweight children are more at risk for diabetes mellitus (Type 2), menstrual irregularities (polycystic ovaries), cholesterol abnormalities, sleep disorders, Fatty Liver and Cardiac problems. Overweight children are more likely to suffer from problems of low self-esteem at school which will often affect their academic performance. Genetic factors, decreased physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, and faulty food choices are the major causes of obesity. The use of high-calorie drinks (carbonated drinks, sweetened fruit juices, etc) and junk foods has made children to obese teens, diabetic adults. Though we cannot change the genetic factors, the environmental factors can be changed. Preliminary diabetic treatment consists of proper diet habits and increasing physical activity can prevent or control childhood obesity. Eating the right food at right time and spending at least 30 minutes a day for physical activity are essential factors in lifestyle modification. Proper 7 – 8 hours of sleep at night will help the children to be active during daytime and will play a key role in controlling weight gain. Most parents are unaware of the appropriate height and weight requirement of their children. This varies with age and sex of the child. There are growth charts which can be used to monitor the weight and height of the children. An initiative at school or primary care hospital to monitor the growth parameters of children can help us to identify childhood obesity early and to start on lifestyle modifications to prevent obesity. Obesity treatments are there in Kerala with medications and surgical procedures available for children with uncontrolled obesity not responding to lifestyle measures. But the initial measures to prevent and control obesity have to start in family and schools. Together we can guide our children to a healthy living.


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