2 methods of treating obesity in children
3 Prevention of obesity in children
4 Risks of obesity
Obesity in children
Obesity is defined as having extra fats in the body, which affects the child’s physical, social, and psychological health.
It may cause loneliness, lack of self-confidence, and depression,
Also, obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases and health problems such as asthma, bone and joint problems, and others,
It may increase the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes.
And a lot of cancers at puberty,
It should be noted that the problem of obesity often persists in children who suffer from it after they get old,
There are many factors that cause obesity in children.
Such as genetic predisposition, nutritional habits, physical activity, and short sleep periods,
And the genetic factor is one of the most difficult factors to change, unlike environmental changes.
Methods of treating obesity in children
Obesity treatment depends on the child’s age and health condition.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children over the age of two years and adolescents who suffer from obesity are advised to follow a weight-maintenance program.
This will contribute to the increase in the child’s height, the stability of his weight, and the decrease in the body mass index (in English: Body mass index) to normal levels,
Among the methods used to treat obesity:
First: integrated healthy food:
Eating healthy food in appropriate quantities and types is one of the methods used to maintain or reduce body weight.
It can be said that the responsibility for buying food and cooking rests with the parents.
Also, any simple changes in food may cause a big difference in the child’s health.
Therefore, it is advised to reduce your dependence on ready and fast meals,
And foods that contain large amounts of sugar, fats and calories,
Sweetened beverages that are high in calories and of low nutritional value,
Including fruit juices that may increase the feeling of satiety in the child, and reduce his desire to eat other healthy foods,
It is also preferable not to eat food in front of the TV or computer,
As this leads to a decrease in the feeling of the quantities of food eaten and the speed of eating it,
Children who suffer from obesity and between the ages of 6-11 years are advised to lose weight gradually by adjusting their eating habits;
So that they lose 0.5 kilograms a month, but the diets of older children and adolescents who are obese should be adjusted so that they lose one kilogram per week.
Second: Physical Activity:
Which is considered of great importance to reach and maintain a healthy weight for children,
The child must engage in physical activity for at least one hour a day,
Physical activity does not necessarily mean exercise, as it can be free activity such as skipping rope, hide and seek, climbing, walking, cycling,
As these activities may help burn calories, strengthen bones and muscles, stimulate children’s sleep at night and keep them awake during the day,
Active children usually become fitter than others when they get older.
This is because getting accustomed to physical activity contributes to maintaining a normal, healthy weight at puberty despite hormonal changes, rapid growth, and increased food intake.
Therefore, it is advised to reduce the time children spend in front of the TV, computer, smartphones and other electronic devices,
It is recommended that children under the age of 18 months are strictly prohibited from using these devices or using them for the purpose of video calls in violation.
For older children who are not in school (in English: Preschoolers), they can be allowed to use it for one hour per day.
Weight loss medications may be prescribed for some teens.
However, the problem lies in the lack of knowledge of the danger of these drugs, and their long-term impact.
Also, how effective these drugs are in losing weight is still unknown.
And surgery is usually resorted to in cases of obese adolescents and for whom weight-loss lifestyle changes have not succeeded.
Although surgery has many risks and complications in the future, and it may affect the child’s development,
However, doctors may resort to it in difficult cases where weight poses a greater risk to the child’s health than surgery complications.
It is preferable to consult a specialized medical team for children, including a pediatric endocrinologist, a nutritionist, and a psychiatrist,
Even surgery may not guarantee weight loss and maintenance in adolescence and beyond.
It is worth noting that it is indispensable to eat healthy foods and to commit to continuous physical activity even after undergoing surgeries.
Prevention of obesity in children
A range of methods can be followed to avoid excessive weight gain in children.
Among the tips followed to prevent weight gain, we mention the following:
First: From birth to one year old:
Take care of breastfeeding, as it may prevent the child from becoming overweight, and because of its other health benefits.
Second: Children between 1-5 years:
Ensure attention to healthy habits from an early age, by encouraging the child to eat various types of healthy foods, and encouraging him to move.
Third: Children between the ages of 6-12 years:
Encouraging children to take an interest in physical activity daily through exercise,
Or performing daily activities that stimulate movement, such as walking and playing outside, and following their food choices.
Fourth: Children between the ages of 13-18 years:
Teaching them how to prepare healthy meals at home, and encouraging them to be physically active daily.
Children suffering from obesity and being overweight may increase their risk of many health problems, including:
1- Liver and gallbladder diseases.
2- Problems with bones and joints.
3- Shortness of breath that impedes children’s ability to perform physical activity, increases the chance of developing asthma, and the symptoms associated with it worsen, problems with breathing during the night, and sleep disturbances such as obstructive sleep apnea (in English: Obstructive sleep apnea).
4- early maturity; Children who are obese usually mature early are taller, and sexually mature more than their peers.
5- Irregular menstruation and fertility problems in girls upon puberty.
6- Increasing the factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, which increases the risk of heart failure and diseases, and stroke in adulthood.
7- Psychological problems, such as depression and eating disorders.
8- Being offended by colleagues and lack of self-confidence.
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The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice or professional diagnosis.
Moreover, the information on this website should not be taken as final medical advice in relation to any case or individual situation.
We strongly recommend that you always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health service provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition, your general health, or the health of your child.
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