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World Obesity Day: How parents can help their kids avoid becoming overweight

Childood obesity puts children at risk of developing serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases later in life. It can also lead to depression and low self-esteem.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Oct 11, 2017, 13:35 PM IST
World Obesity Day: How parents can help their kids avoid becoming overweight
(Representational image)

New Delhi: Obesity is one of the biggest health problems at present, that is rapidly becoming a part of everyone's life. The rising number of obese people around the world just goes to show how we are allowing a particular lifestyle to dictate us into an unhealthy state of being.

Unfortunately, obesity is a growing concern among children as well. In the US, it is estimated that one out of every five children is overweight or obese and the number is growing.

Childood obesity puts children at risk of developing serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases later in life. It can also lead to depression and low self-esteem.

On Wednesday, October 11 – which also happens to be World Obesity Day – the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report saying that the number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades.

Obesity rates in the world’s children and adolescents increased from less than 1% (equivalent to five million girls and six million boys) in 1975 to nearly 6% in girls (50 million) and nearly 8% in boys (74 million) in 2016. Combined, the number of obese five to 19 year olds rose more than tenfold globally, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. An additional 213 million were overweight in 2016 but fell below the threshold for obesity, the report said.

That said, parents' lifestyle can have a huge impact on their kids, since children learn best through example. Hence, parents need to adopt good and healthy lifestyles too.

Below are a few tips parents can follow to help their kids avoid being overweight.

Healthy eating habits: 

Encourage your child to eat healthy foods. Provide them lots of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. Ask them to drink plenty of water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks. Include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans in their diet for protein.

Breakfast: 

Never let your child skip his/her breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day. Studies have linked eating breafast with maintaining a lower body mass index (BMI) over time. Also, eating cereal for breakfast regularly has been linked to healthy weight in kids.

Frequent meals: 

Give your kids smaller but more frequent meals. This will keep them away from being or feeling overly hungry and therefore, reduce their caloric junk food cravings.

Physical activity: 

Encourage your child to stay active everyday. Research suggests that children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. Plan for a family physical activity time on a daily basis such as, brisk walks, bike rides, swimming, active games, etc,. Limit the amount of time children spend on TV and computers.

Check-ups: 

Take your child to a doctor for a check-up at least once a year. This will help determine their ideal weight, thereby preventing them from becoming overweight as well as protecting them from other health problems.