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What are the Most Common Causes of Childhood Obesity

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

Childhood obesity is a concerning health trend, and westernized countries are experiencing obese children in epidemic proportions. Obese children have a higher risk for many health conditions, and they may be facing a lifetime of medical struggles as a result of their weight.

Learning about childhood obesity can help parents to create healthier habits and teach their obese children how to lose weight. Losing the extra weight can help these children to avoid medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, poor self-esteem, and high cholesterol.

Causes of Childhood Obesity

The two main causes of childhood obesity are an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical exercise. Our modern world has allowed many people to fall into unhealthy habits, and obese children grow up eating processed meals and watching TV instead of playing outside. Simply changing some of these daily habits can make a big difference in their weight.

Even though most obese children are heavy because of their daily habits, there are occasionally medical situations that cause a child to gain weight. For example, hormonal imbalances or genetic factors may cause childhood obesity. If a child is following a healthy lifestyle and they are unable to lose the weight, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor in order to determine if other medical factors are a concern.

Preventing and Treating Childhood Obesity

Because the two main causes of obesity in children are lifestyle related, the best way to lose the weight is to help obese children change their daily habits. This process can be very difficult for children, because they have become accustomed to eating unhealthy foods and they will have food addictions to overcome.

Obese children under the age of seven should focus on weight maintenance. They are growing so quickly at this age, so maintaining their current weight while their height increases will result in a better BMI. Obese children older than seven years old should lose weight slowly, and the weight loss should be limited to one pound per week.

It is important to be careful about your approach to changing habits, because childhood obesity can lead to dangerous dieting and other unhealthy practices later in life. Instead of talking to your child about weight loss, focus on improving health. Discussing weight loss with younger children on a regular basis may cause them to develop an unhealthy view of weight and image.

Healthy habits can be changed by gradually adding in healthy foods and decreasing unhealthy foods. Limit the amount of junk food, soda, and sugar that the child eats, and teach them about how to prepare healthy food options. Family meal time is a great opportunity for nutritional education.

Additionally, change the family’s physical habits. Instead of allowing obese children to watch TV, setup a family activity to go outside and play together. Even a little bit of physical activity can make a big difference.

Teaching your children about healthy daily habits is a great way to prevent childhood obesity. These habits will set your child up for a lifetime of health and wellness.

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