Going by the recent figures, it can be factually stated that Childhood Obesity is catching up like wild fire across borders. It has already reached epidemic levels in some developed countries and there is no denying that developing countries are also experiencing the brunt it.
Continents like America and Europe are leading the list with horrifying figures of over 20% affected populace. Well, the Asians and Africans are not far behind either, with startling figures that state of over 10% children caught in the claws of the monster called childhood obesity.
Apparently, limited evidence is available in India on childhood obesity and research on the same is in progress. Even-though, there are a few factors that seem to primarily influence the rise in the condition. The factors include environmental factors, genetics, metabolic programming, diet habits and sedentary lifestyle, to name a few.
Well, sedentary lifestyle alongside dietary habits particularly instant and junk foods consumption amongst children, particularly in urban settings has increased the risk of obesity associated diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic resistance and more as well.
There are many causes that lead to obesity in children. Here is a run down the major two.
High Calorie Diet
Children in the urban setups are addicted to instant and junk foods which is a major cause of obesity in cities. While it actually begins at birth, when people tend to over feed their babies to make them healthy and end up making them obese. Even the school cafeteria’s do not have any meal plans depending upon individual state of health. Children eat as much as they want, many a times much more than required. Many parents also tend to forcefully feed children even if they are done due to their traditional beliefs of health and nutrition. This is one of the major factor leading childhood obesity.
Before the advent of television, video games, tablets and play stations, children used to indulge into outdoor activities, sports and games a lot. But, now children are more of confined to indoors busy playing games on computers, play-stations or watching cartoons on television. Also, commuting before was either walking or cycling, now its more about buses, cars and skateboards. The lifestyle has become sedentary and thus resulted into obesity rise.
Prevention is the Key
To put a brake on the rise of obesity cases across the globe, a unanimous solution or key is prevention of it. It primarily includes avoiding weight gain, working on reduction of weight and weight regain as well. Many initiatives are undertaken by government and private organizations of different countries in order to create awareness on childhood obesity related health hazards and also its prevention. This includes increased intake of vegetables and fruits, participation in outdoor sports activities and other physical activities like dance and more. Consumption of healthy snacks and saying no to junk foods or limiting the intake to bare minimum are some steps suggested to the populace in order to prevent obesity in the younger generation across the world.
There are many other factors that lead to childhood obesity as mentioned before and in order to put brakes on the ever increasing number of cases, prevention is the best way out. So in general, parents need to promote healthy eating habits in children and include adequate number of physical activities in their daily routine so as to promote a healthy and fit way of life right from the grassroots level, thus curbing childhood obesity to an extent.