Childhood obesity has spread like wildfire!


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Childhood obesity has spread like wildfire. Additionally, it has had a huge impact on the mental and physical health of our country’s youth. According to research, children who are overweight or obese are more likely to remain that way as adults. Additionally, they are considerably more likely to experience early-onset of illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. 43 million young children who are overweight, according to experts at the World Health Organization, are under the age of five. By 2020, obesity will be directly linked to more than 60% of diseases in the world.

The WHO also noted that coexisting cases of obesity and undernutrition are not unusual. How can this make sense, though? Are you eating enough to receive the nutrients you need if you’re ingesting so many calories in one day? The truth is that eating empty calories—calories with little to no nutritious value—is the root cause of childhood obesity. Children in our nation are therefore both overfed and undernourished.

For young individuals, it’s crucial to set a positive example and model healthy behaviors for your kids at home in order to treat obesity naturally. You may aid your child in becoming healthy and developing a positive relationship with food by cooking at home more frequently, encouraging your child to exercise every day, and acting as a support system.

Childhood Obesity Causes

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1. Sizes of portions

The amount of food ingested in one sitting is strongly influenced by portion size, despite the fact that this may seem like a simple statement. This implies that if the portion in front of you is larger, you’re more likely to consume more than you actually need. Today, there are more huge portions available, along with value-size pricing, in the US and many other nations. You are supposedly receiving more food for your money when you “supersize” your meal at a fast food restaurant. However, you’re also taking in a lot more calories than your body can or should use as fuel.

According to research, rising serving sizes have coincided with rising obesity rates. Individually packed goods prepared foods that are ready to eat, and restaurant meals all fall under this category. In a Rutgers University study, the parts chosen by young adults in 2006 were contrasted with those chosen 20 years previously. The average portion sizes in the study were discovered to be much greater than the ones chosen by young adults two decades prior, according to researchers. Portion distortion appears to be a contributing factor in this issue. Young adults lack an understanding of what constitutes proper serving sizes.

2. Lunch at school

Do you allow the food industry to feed your children? If so, you might discover that your children’s lunch options at school aren’t precisely what you’d like them to be eating. Yes, there are nutrition standards that schools must meet. But they are also allowed to use foods with artificial flavors and coloring, food additives, preservatives, and emulsifiers.

The truth is that most of the foods available to your kids during school lunch are competitive foods and beverages, such as sweetened beverages, salty snacks like chips, and sweets like candy, cookies, and pastries. Kids commonly eat these foods instead of prepared school lunches because they are sold in nearby vending machines or snack stands, kids frequently opt to consume them instead of prepared school lunches.

If your child does consume a prepared school lunch, he is ideally receiving a meal that complies with the stringent requirements set forth by the USDA under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. But recently, the new administration relaxed the rules, allowing for the use of added sodium and grains that aren’t entirely whole grains in school meals.

3. Eating highly processed and sugary foods

The sugary and processed foods that make up a large portion of children’s diets are one of the main causes of obesity. According to research, children today consume more high-calorie, nutrient-deficient diets and fewer foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial micronutrients. The recent increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity is strongly related to eating sugary, processed, and low-micronutrient snacks.

A 2011 study that appeared in Pediatric Clinics found that added sugars account for 14.6% of the total energy consumed by Americans 2 years of age and older. Most of these additional sugars, according to researchers, come from sweetened beverages like soda and juices. The majority of studies suggest a positive link between sugar-sweetened beverages and the risk of obesity, particularly in youngsters, according to a 2016 systematic analysis that included over 20 studies. 

4. Lack of Beneficial Fats

Obesity and metabolic risk factors are inversely correlated with the consumption of healthy fats. This is because, in contrast to the sugary or processed diets ingested by so many youngsters today, complex foods containing healthy fats, such as avocados, butter, wild-caught salmon, yogurt, and coconut oil, deliver many essential nutrients.

5. Physical Activity Deficit

The suggested physical activity guidelines aren’t being met by a sizable portion of kids and teenagers. It is advised to engage in daily physical activity for at least an hour. Only 11% of girls and 24% of boys in high school report engaging in physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day, according to the CDC. Only 30% of students say they regularly attend school-sponsored physical education sessions.

According to data, young people who engage in greater physical activity have lower body fat percentages than those who do not. However, kids are selecting increasingly sedentary hobbies that involve sitting for extended periods of time, as opposed to playing outside, participating in sports, or engaging in other forms of physical activity.

They might be using smartphones, playing electronic games, or watching TV, for instance. In fact, some children are becoming addicted to these devices and using them for several hours each day. Children (and adults) may check their phones multiple times an hour, for example, due to nomophobia, which is described as the dread of being without a mobile device.

Some young people even use their phones while they should be sleeping or doing their homework, tapping their screens awake every few minutes. The dread of living without a mobile device, known as nomophobia, has resulted in a dependence on smartphones. For instance, youngsters (and adults) who check their phones many times an hour are suffering from smartphone addiction. Some young people even use their phones while they should be sleeping or doing their homework, tapping their screens awake every few minutes. You might be shocked to learn that a diet high in good fats is linked to a lower risk of becoming obese, according to studies. The public has been informed for a very long time that fats make people acquire weight. However, recent research shows that the opposite is actually true, in the case of healthy fats.

6. Pressure (On Children and Parents)

Children who are obese struggle with mental health problems like stress, worry, and even depression. Researchers have found that many obese kids who are separated from their parents experience separation anxiety and also worry about their weight and eating habits. Teenagers who are upset and worried about their weight sometimes turn to crash dieting, which makes them consume more.

Even their parents and friends have been known to bully or make fun of overweight youngsters and teenagers. This causes greater stress, worry, sadness, and feelings of worthlessness. Children who experience these emotions often turn to food as a comfort, which inevitably results in further weight gain.  A 2012 study published in Pediatrics found that parental stress can also contribute to childhood obesity. Researchers discovered that fast-food consumption was connected to parental stressors.

This link serves as a crucial sign of childhood obesity. Parents frequently have unpleasant physiological and psychological reactions to stressful conditions or events. According to the study, parents typically spend less time with their kids and employ less productive parenting techniques while dealing with these challenges. Children are then less closely watched as they choose unhealthy foods and activities.

It may be challenging for parents who are under stress to plan and prepare healthy meals for the entire week. They are also less likely to serve fruits and vegetables at home, according to research. Instead, stressed parents seem to rely on fast food and there’s an increased consumption of sugary and processed foods.

Strategies to Combat Childhood Obesity

1. Begin with a wholesome breakfast

You may be surprised to learn that skipping breakfast can result in weight gain. According to studies, eating breakfast every day lowers the incidence of childhood obesity and enhances a child’s physical activity habits. For their bodies to be fueled and to have energy throughout the day, children need to eat breakfast. Children and teenagers will experience weariness if they skip breakfast. They won’t be as inclined to indulge in calorie-burning exercise. Additionally, they will be so hungry when they do eventually eat a complete meal that they will choose larger servings and consume more calories.

Research has also demonstrated the advantages of breakfast programs for low-income families being offered at schools. Children’s test results and attendance improve when they are given a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast programs also enhance student behavior and attention in the classroom. An antioxidant-rich breakfast includes protein, fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Don’t give kids processed meals with extra sugars, like cereals with kid-targeted marketing. Use a few of these nutritious breakfast recipes as inspiration.

2. Pack lunches for school

Choose a brown bag lunch for your child if you want to combat childhood obesity and even increase their focus and test results. Teenagers who typically packed their lunch from home five days a week “ate fast food on fewer occasions, consumed fewer servings of soda, fried potatoes, and high-sugar foods, and ate more fruits and vegetables compared with adolescents who never brought their lunch to school,” according to a 2009 study published in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Together with your son or daughter, plan, shop for, and cook meals. Allow your child to participate in making decisions. Give her the freedom to select the healthful foods she wants to include in her school lunches. She will be motivated by this to enjoy the nutritious foods she already enjoys.  She could be open to trying some novel meals as well.

Looking for some ideas for a balanced packed lunch? A sandwich with almond butter and banana on Ezekiel bread, an egg salad wrapped in a tortilla made from sprouted grains, or organic, nitrate-free lunch meat on brown rice or Ezekiel bread are all good options. Try an antioxidant trail mix, hummus and carrot sticks, or guacamole and bell pepper slices as snacks. These handcrafted, freshly prepared sandwiches will surely satisfy your child much more.

3. Participate in school

You keep up with what your child is studying in class. You check in with him to see what he learned that day, assist him with his homework, and talk to his teacher about his development. Doesn’t it make sense to inquire about your child’s diet on that particular day? What was served, and did he enjoy it? Did he feel energized or lethargic after it?

The majority of your child’s day is spent at school with his teachers and other students. He is learning behaviors in school, such as how and what to eat. Your child will get conflicting messages if you model healthy eating at home yet serve processed meals daily at school. You must speak up for your child until nutritious school lunches are the standard. Participate in school activities and push for wholesome lunches.Additionally, school is an excellent setting for your child to learn about nutritious foods, what they can do for his body and mind, and why some foods make you feel good while others make you feel bad. According to studies, the most practical and successful strategy for combating childhood obesity in schools is a multidisciplinary approach that also engages the children’s families. The best role models are parents and teachers. Together, they can more effectively direct the kids toward a healthier lifestyle.

4. Prepare Food at Home

Children who eat more meals away from home have a higher chance of developing obesity. This is especially true if parents frequently turn to high-calorie quick or processed foods while they are busy. According to research, families spend roughly 40% of their food budget on meals consumed outside the home. Children are frequently given meals that are too big and have too many calories at these locations.

Make the majority of your child’s meals at home to aid with weight loss or maintenance. Eat meals as a family as frequently as you can. Prepare meals for your family that are strong in protein, healthy fats, and foods that reduce inflammation, such as leafy green vegetables and fruits that are antioxidant-rich.

Final Reflections

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 43 million overweight children under the age of five, and by 2020, more than 60 percent of diseases established globally will be directly linked to obesity. Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic.
The causes of childhood obesity are numerous. These include huge portion sizes, unhealthily prepared school meals, eating sugary and processed foods, skipping out on healthy fats, not getting enough exercise, and stress on both parents and kids.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to combat childhood obesity. The greatest strategy to address childhood obesity is to prepare meals at home. Encourage physical activity, get involved in school, and offer a support system for your child.