Do Children Outgrow Obesity?
If your child is slightly (or even more) overweight than the recommended parameter, you are probably worried if they are obese. Because obesity comes with a series of subsequent problems, it is only natural to worry. But even before you get worked up about this, you first need to understand what obesity is, what causes your child to be obese, and the methods you can probably use to help them outgrow obesity if it is indeed possible in the first place. So, do children outgrow obesity? Keep reading to find out.
Can your child outgrow obesity in the future?
Whether your child can outgrow obesity entirely depends on their resilience, food habits, and lifestyle. Even though obesity can be genetic in some cases, a good lifestyle change can shift the entire dynamics. Contrary to popular notions, children are much more resilient than adults think. So, if you take extra care to check what your child is eating and encourage them to exercise once in a while, we are confident that your child can eventually outgrow obesity.
However, every child is not the same, and do not push your child to the extreme while introducing a new diet or lifestyle to them. In the following sections, we will learn more about obesity and its causes so you can nip the issue in the bud. Understanding the causes is crucial as it will help you make the right decisions for your children.
What is obesity?
Obesity, or more specifically childhood obesity, is an epidemic that continues to grow across the globe. In the United States alone, it affects more than 20% of kids, making it a chronic childhood ailment. Over the decades, the numbers have tripled, making it worse for the growing kids of today.
In the simplest term, childhood obesity is a classified health problem that can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension-related issues, and other comorbidities. That is why if you suspect your child is dealing with obesity, address the matter right away.
By definition, your child can be called obese if their existing body mass index for their age is higher than 95. In some cases, your child may not be obese yet but are on the � overweight’ threshold. This happens when your child’s BMI is higher than 85% but lower than 95%, the latter of which is the point for being obese.
If you are wondering what BMI is, we will clarify that. If you are an adult struggling with obesity, you are perhaps already familiar with BMI. In children, Body Mass Index or BMI is combined with age-specific BMI to assess their obesity level. You can calculate the BMI by dividing your child’s weight by their height in a square meter. If you are unsure of the calculation, your pediatrician can assist you with the same. Additionally, you will find plenty of online obesity BMI calculators for kids that give you an exact number in minutes.
What causes obesity?
Several causes can be attributed to obesity, especially when discussing obesity in children. Because children are more prone to eating fatty, sugar-laced foods, they are among the first people to be threatened by obesity. This section will learn about the many reasons your child might be obese.
The family’s lifestyle is vital in a child’s obesity cycle. Suppose the family follows an unhealthy lifestyle where they focus more on red meat, processed sugar, and other canned stuff. In that case, the child may be overweight and eventually obese. The same applies to families where nobody performs physical activities. Kids learn best through example. So, if the family spends most of their time on screen, the child is more likely to be obese.
In some cases, genetics comes to play when it concerns the obesity of the child. For instance, kids whose parents, brothers/sisters, and other members of the family are obese are naturally at risk of being overweight and obese.
Sometimes accessing the right protein-rich and healthy food becomes problematic due to socioeconomic and cultural issues. In situations like these, children tend to consume fast food or other food that may contribute to obesity.
Ways to get rid of obesity
If you find your child obese and want to get rid of it, you first must incorporate and introduce a complete diet and lifestyle upheaval. However, even before you do that, you must encourage your child to spend more time thinking about their health and overall well-being than only their weight. In this section, we will talk about many ways to help you treat obesity in your little ones.
Be their role model
One of the first things you need to do for your kid is to be a solid role model. You can ask your kids to be active and follow the same habit by exercising. Similarly, you can incorporate a healthy meal for the entire family.
Again, you can take frequent bike rides instead of mindlessly surfing social media to show them how vital going out to get some sun is.
The next thing to focus on is your kids’ physical activity. You don’t want to strain your kids out. Please encourage them to take quick 10-minute stretches or a short five-minute stretch. Do this several times daily; it will be as good as an hour of exercise.
If your kids are younger, encourage them to play ball and chase. You take them to the park for swings and rides to see-saw. If none of these suits your kid, motivate them to walk to school.
Size the meals
Work on sizing the meals for your kids. When you start serving bite-sized portions to your children, encourage them to ask for more if they are hungry. Do not overfeed them or feed them something else when they haven’t finished the food on their plate. This will instill good habits and ensure that your kid eats the right food.
When handling your kids, you should ensure that they eat at least five different portions of fruit, vegetables, or a combination of both daily. This is an excellent way to instill essential nutrients like vitamins.
Ensure your kids consume the maximum chunk of their calories through vegetables and fruits. You can feed them bread and starch-based foods like rice, pasta, and potatoes. Avoid giving them sugar-laced food and drinks, including sodas.
The final thing you need to do is ensure your child doesn’t get excessive screen time before they aim to sleep. Designate a specific time as the screen time for your kids. Also, if your kids are older, ensure they do not sleep with their mobile phones. Introduce a habit or perhaps a rule to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours daily and minimalize all forms of blue-light exposure right before your kid’s sleep. This is an excellent way to keep them in a healthy ecosystem where obesity can’t sneak in.
What does obesity do to kids in the future?
If obesity is not identified and corrected at the right time, it can lead to multiple issues as your child grows up. Some common problems observed in kids battling obesity include:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Excessive sweating
• Self-esteem issues
• Anxiety and depression
Obesity can be traumatic if not addressed at the correct time. That is why it is essential to be mindful and understand whether your child is obese in the first place. If they are indeed obese, you can try our recommended methods to help deal with obesity. The key lies in introducing the proper lifestyle to your kids. We understand that you may be met with tantrums at the beginning, especially when the change is sudden, but after a while, as you gradually introduce healthy habits, your child will soon be accustomed to them.
You need to pay special attention and ensure they exercise regularly, even if it is a brisk walk. Additionally, you must add plenty of leafy greens as meat substitutes and use lean protein in the main meals. If your kid isn’t fond of salad, make it funky with a perfect concoction of spices and non-processed sauces. Either way, once you take these baby steps to sustainable living, your child goes closer to being less obese and fit in the long run.