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Childhood obesity and Obesity in Teenagers

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In this day and age there is a great concern to have healthy children. Childhood obesity and obesity in teenagers is a serious issue which can cause many health problems that could continue into adulthood if steps are not taken to remedy the problem.

Taking pre-emptive measures and learning about treatment for youngsters is an essential tool to help manage the obesity epidemic. Many parents worry about their children’s weight and how it affects them in their day to day lives. Parents try to find solutions and help their children but there is a worry that they could make their children too concerned about their weight; which could also in turn lead to health issues later in life from the opposite end if the scale in the forms of eating disorders.

Children have high energy requirements because they are growing. A wide-ranging and nutritious diet is the key for their development. However, if they take in more energy than they use up, the extra energy is stored in their bodies as fat. The number of overweight and obese children in the UK has risen progressively over the past 2 decades. The likely hood is that children who are overweight will grow up into adults who are overweight, and with a estimated to 15% of children in Great Britain being overweight, and obesity sometimes being a hereditary factor, the UK could be on its way to an obesity epidemic if steps are not taken to get the countries’ children active, fit and healthy again.

Overweight children are at higher risk of developing serious health problems in later life, including heart attack and stroke, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. Children who are overweight could be subjected to bullying in school due to their appearance and a side effect of this could be that your children’s confidence and self-esteem could be low and could lead into depression. This is also a major health concern, as depression is becoming all the more common amongst youngsters. Therefore weight loss for overweight children is of great importance because we all want healthy children.

Why are so many more children overweight?
Children are more likely to be overweight if their parents are obese, with only a small number of cases being due to health problems. But the main reason children of overweight parents become obese is because the parents do not eat a healthy diet or exercise regularly and these bad habits are passed on to the children. It is now even more difficult for children and parents to loose weight as all the “good stuff” is so widely advertised. Also with computer games in every household, the amount of activity these obese children get is extremely low. Exercise should be a regular part of a child’s daily life from as young as possible, to keep them stay fit and healthy.

What is a child’s healthy weight?
Parents may find it difficult to tell whether their child has temporary 'puppy fat' or is genuinely overweight. In adults, a simple formula (the body mass index, or BMI) is used to work out whether a person is the right weight for their height. To check whether your child is obese calculate their body mass index (BMI). You can use an adult body mass index (BMI) calculator by squaring their height (in metres) and then dividing their weight (in kg) by this figure.

How can I help my child’s weight loss?
The best advice would be to talk to your doctor or a dietician to lose weighty healthily.

Healthy tips to consider
It is not a good idea to put your child on a restrictive diet, it is best to make healthy choices that they won’t even notice e.g. oven chips instead of fried, and by low fat products instead of regular, cereal bars are an excellent alternative to chocolate. Making these long-term changes to healthy eating habits for all the family will not only benefit your children but also you! Try to boost your children’s intake of fresh fruit and vegetables at the same time as reducing fat. This will assist weight loss. Talks with teachers at school about what can be done there, if they cannot supply healthy lunches then give your child a packed lunch. Obesity and being overweight is a problem - even if only one of you is overweight – it will effect the whole family in one way or another, so get the whole family healthy and fit.