FREE Pregnancy

Request A Callback

Fill in your details and our team will get back to you shortly.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Request A Callback

Childhood Obesity: A Guide for Parents

April 6, 2024

The worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled between 1990 and 2022, and it is projected that 50% of the population may be obese by 2030.

Childhood obesity is a condition in which excess body fat in the Body negatively affects a child's health or well-being. As methods to directly determine body fat are difficult, the diagnosis of obesity is often based on Body Mass Index. The alarming rise in childhood obesity and its associated health risks and hence it is recognised as a serious public health concern. When talking about children's weight, healthcare professionals often use terms like "overweight" instead of "obesity" to be less judgmental. The prevalence of childhood obesity is known to differ by age and gender, and we have age and gender-based Body Mass Index charts.

Book an appointment to consult Dr. Gurmeet Kaur for pediatric concerns.

I am reaching out to highlight the crucial issues of preventing obesity in children. As we know, childhood obesity can lead to the early onset of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes mellitus 2 and can affect a child's psychosocial well-being in the long run. It is essential to promote healthy eating habits, encourage physical activity, and limit sedentary behaviours to ensure our children lead healthy lives. By being mindful of their diets, engaging in regular exercise, and setting positive examples as role models, we can help our children maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related illnesses.

Children are at increased risk for being overweight if their parents are obese, and when both parents are obese, then their children are 10-12 times more likely to be obese.

Let's work together to prioritise our children's health and well-being by fostering a supportive environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle for both parents and children is the key to overall well-being. Encouraging balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques can positively impact health. Setting a good example, involving the whole family in meal planning and physical activities and creating a supportive environment are effective ways to cultivate healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Making small, sustainable changes can lead to significant improvement in health and quality of life for both children and parents. Commonly occurring obesity is an interplay of genes and environment. We can modify our environment by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes our eating and activity behaviours, which are mostly established during childhood. A child learns his/her lifestyle behaviours from the three environments around him/her: Home, School & Community.

Create a healthy foundation for your children by making small lifestyle changes:

  1. They should be physically more active.
  2. They should avoid prolonged sitting and not be spending more than 2 hours with screens.
  3. Mother should practice moderate physical activity of at least 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days a week. Which could be running, jogging, or cycling, and in pregnancy, it should be continued though under medical supervision.
  4. Skip sugary drinks and opt for homemade meals most of the time. Build a balanced diet with whole grains, plenty of vegetables and fruits, and lean protein sources like milk products. Limit fried foods, especially those high in trans fats. Additionally, avoid alcohol and smoking.
  5. Eating together as a family, especially not in front of the TV, should surely be practised routinely. This has many more advantages; it gives the family a wonderful opportunity to share their day-to-day activities, discuss their problems, spend some happy moments together, and make future plans. Eating in front of the TV or any screen leads to slow stimulation of the satiety centre. Hence, we tend to eat more and without much realisation, which in turn negatively affects the digestion and absorption of food. This leads to obesity and undernutrition.
  6. As per research, eating dinner together at least 3-4 times per week has positive effects on a child's development and has been associated with lower rate of overweight in children, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders & lead to better self-esteem and academic success in children & adolescents.
  7. At mealtime, the parent's job is to provide a structure and ensure that family meals happen. Ensure that meals happen on the table without distractions (phone, television, tablet, etc), and parents choose what foods are offered and are age-appropriate. From the food provided, the child is responsible for deciding what and how much to eat. Parents should avoid negotiation (e.g. last 2 bites), hiding vegetables in meatballs or baked goods, or using food as a reward (eat your broccoli, and you can have dessert). Pairing a new food with foods that children already like will help make mealtime easier.
  8. Involve children in meal planning, preparation and clean up; sit down together to eat, connect, talk and have fun.
  9. Feeding should not be forced. Removing junk food from home, making home cooked healthy food more presentable, definitely attracts children. Scolding/forcing/scaring/insisting for food or specific food items should not be done.
  10. Food should never be used as a bribe, reward, or punishment.
  11. A variety in food items with different coloured fruits and vegetables should be offered, with regular meals and snacks, and taking care about the protein content of food for growing bodies.
  12. Drinking water should be available as a substitute for sugary drinks and juices.
  13. The child mimics the parents, so parents should adopt a healthy eating habit and healthy lifestyle, especially during various festive celebrations.

Want to consult the Best Pediatricians in India? Please find the links below.

  1. ‍Best Pediatricians in Bangalore
  2. Best Pediatricians in Chandigarh
  3. Best Pediatricians in Chennai
  4. Best Pediatricians in Faridabad
  5. Best Pediatricians in Gurugram
  6. Best Pediatricians in Hyderabad
  7. Best Pediatricians in Ludhiana
  8. Best Pediatricians in Mumbai
  9. Best Pediatricians in Noida
  10. Best Pediatricians in Pune
  11. Best Pediatricians in Panchkula
  12. Best Pediatricians in New Delhi
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.