If your child is a little overweight, there might not be any major problem. A lot of kids grow out of their "baby fat" when they hit their teens. But many do not. And unfortunately, an alarming trend has developed the last few years concerning children that are not just a little overweight, but who are actually obese.
According to the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic, childhood obesity is often related to a much higher chance of dying prematurely. It also contributes to disability in adulthood, taking different physical and mental forms of sickness, disease and illness. This includes NCDs (noncommunicable diseases) such as heart problems and diabetes at a younger age that health professionals are seeing than ever before.
What are the biggest problems that sometimes do not surface until adulthood when your child is obese?
In the United States alone, more than 2.5 million people die every year as a direct result of being obese or overweight. The good news here, if there is any to take away from this, is that obesity is largely preventable.
A major problem is the sugar and salt in the typical child's diet. Even if you limit the amount of salt and sugar you add to your child's meals, it is most likely already packed into the food you're feeding them. Processed food, any food that comes in a wrapper, leads to higher rates of obesity than unprocessed food, whole foods, fruits and vegetables.
Drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest and exercising regularly are also components to a healthy lifestyle that fights obesity in children, as well as adults. The idea here is to focus on your child's entire approach to health and fitness, not just one individual component.
Today's plugged-in world presents challenges for parents looking to keep their child active. The present generation is the first to be raised entirely in the digital world. Whether your child is a toddler, tween or teen, they're growing up with a smartphone and a computer as a major part of their life. This can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which when coupled with poor nutrition, is the perfect recipe for childhood obesity.
If a lifetime of poor health and low self-esteem is not what you hope for your children, then get them active. Adopt a healthy eating routine as a family. Limit electronic engagement. Make sure they are getting plenty of water and rest. These combined actions will give your children the best chance at living happy, healthy lives, as both children and adults.