Child Obesity: When Should You Consider Consulting A Physician
Child obesity is on the rise throughout the world, so much so, that it is being called an 'obesity epidemic.' The child obesity epidemic is especially prevalent in nations where most of the people live sedentary lives, and eat more convenience foods that are typically high in calories and low in nutritional value. It is estimated that about 25 million U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or nearly overweight.
Childhood obesity is particularly a problem due to the extra pounds starting kids on a pathway toward health problems that were once only seen in adults. These health problems include:
* High blood pressure
* High cholesterol
What can a parent do to prevent childhood obesity and help protect his or her health? The best strategy is to increase exercise levels and improve your children's diet.
There are also some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity. However, most childhood obesity cases are caused by children eating too much and often too much of the wrong kinds of food and exercising too little.
Some of the genetic diseases that can cause childhood obesity are:
* Prader-Willi syndrome
* Bardet-Biedl syndrome
In general these two syndromes affect a very small proportion of children. Eating and exercise habits play a much larger role in childhood obesity.
Factors that increase your child's risk of becoming overweight are:
* Diet: A regular consumption of high-calorie foods and beverages
* Inactivity: Watching too much T.V. and playing video games as opposed to games of a more active nature.
* Genetics: If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be predisposed to put on excess weight. This is especially true if he or she lives in an environment where high-calorie food is always available and physical activity is not encouraged.
* Psychological factors: Overeating due to stress or boredom
* Family/social factors: Most children do not shop for the family's groceries. Most of the time, it is the parents who are responsible for putting unhealthy foods in the refrigerator, on the family's shelves and the family dinner table.
Other hard-to-control factors that can contribute to your child's risk of becoming obese include:
* Children from minority or low-income backgrounds
* Poverty and obesity often go hand in hand because low-income parents may lack the time and resources to make healthy eating and exercise a family priority.
It is important to know that not all children carrying extra pounds are actually overweight or obese. The child may have a larger-than-average body frame or bone structure. Children also carry different amounts of body fat at various stages of development. Just by looking at a child does not determine the child's weight is a health concern.
If you are concerned your child is overweight or is suffering from child obesity, talk with his or her doctor or health care provider. A complete weight assessment which takes into account the child's individual history of growth and development will help determine whether or not your child is at risk for child obesity. Also of importance is your family's weight-for-height history.
Source: Mayo clinic (2006)
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem.
About the author:
Connie Limon. Please visit us at http://nutritionandhealthhub.com and sign up for our weekly health and nutrition tip. Articles are FREE to publish to your newsletters, website or blog.