Childhood Obesity -Emphasize Providing, not Depriving

Childhood Obesity -Emphasize Providing, not Depriving

Obese child
Obese child

”Emphasize Providing, not Depriving”

A child is determined as overweight by measuring their height and weight. Although children have fewer weight-related health problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults.

Children become overweight for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. In rare cases, a medical problem, such as an endocrine disorder, may cause a child to become overweight.

Obesity and restrictive eating are of great concern because of the potential physical and physiological consequences. Dieting during childhood and adolescent years can compromise growth, cause nutrient deficiencies, and as more evidence shows, lead to obesity. Ignoring hunger cues and meal skipping are forms of dietary restriction that have been associated with overeating in adolescents.

Parents need to take an active role in teaching their children to develop healthy attitudes about food. If they begin during the preschool years, they can help their children avoid problems with childhood obesity and eating disorders in the years to come.

Health Risks: Children who are overweight are more likely to become overweight adults. They may develop type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other illnesses that can follow them into adulthood. Overweight in children can also lead to stress, sadness, and low self-esteem.

New Diet Approach May Fight Childhood Obesity

A diet that focuses on changing how and what a child eats rather than just counting calories and fat grams may help obese children and adolescents lose weight and lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

AVOID: Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, sweet cereals, and sugary foods. And these foods cause blood sugar levels to surge after eating.

INCLUDE: Complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain bread and cereals, brown rice and vegetables.

How to be Your Child’s Weight Loss Ally

•A variety of fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet as they are rich in nutrients. Using good amount of green leafy vegetables will increase the dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, Folate and vitamin C.

•Protein rich foods should be included in the diet as they are very necessary for growth and development. Eggs are a complete protein and loaded with nutrients and vitamins. The other sources being pulses, fish, oats etc.

•Calcium is used to build bones, especially during adolescence. It is important to include three or more good sources of calcium in your diet every day. Cow’s milk, dairy products and green leafy vegetables contain calcium.

•Iron requirements are relatively high. To increase the amount of iron absorbed from a meal, eat a food containing vitamin C as part of the meal. Citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and broccoli are all good sources of vitamin C.

•Limit solid fats like butter, cheese, mayonnaise etc.
•Carefully cut down on the amount of fat in your family’s diet.
•Guide your family’s choices rather than dictate foods.
•Encourage your child to eat slowly.
•Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV.
•Try not to use food to punish or reward your child.
•Set a good example.

•Take control of the food you keep in your house. Don’t keep any junk food in your cabinets, and don’t be afraid to say no when your child asks you to buy these foods at the supermarket.

•Increase your child’s physical activities by supporting and joining her efforts to help her get started.
•Eat healthy, exercise and enjoy life!

The primary institution of the society which is a family has the responsibility of childcare Educating women about healthy eating and exercise strategies, as well as the physical and psychological impact of obesity on herself and her children, are important steps in improving lifelong health.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

3 Replies to “Childhood Obesity -Emphasize Providing, not Depriving”


    Obesity, is a serious health problem.There is no doubt about it. Many factors are believed to cause obesity. Some of them are congenital, others physiological, social etc.

    Recently, when I made a visit to the school where my grand daughter is studying to attend their School Annual Celebration , I could notice that a significant percentage of school children, both boys and girls, were overweight. Obese we can call them as per the medical term. This is the present day trend of abnormal fat in school going childen residing in urban areas. and studying in schools called as “Premier Schools” mainly patronised by affluent families only. Rich and high calorie food are the main reason for their fatty constitution We do see also similar school going children in rural areas, from families having very limited resources to educate their children,and struggling with hunger and poor nutrition. Such school going children are mostly not obese atleast.They are fed with home made items from cereals ,pulses etc .

    Abnormally fat children are by mistake considered to be healthy by many, but this type of fat is really another malformation of nutrition. So, in our country, we see not only “the problem of plenty” on the one side, but also see “poverty in the land of plenty”,on the other side. .

    Overweight childen are at the risk of developing high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, orthoepaedic complications,etc in the long run. Having obese children is a serious matter and the role of the parents is very much there, to tackle this very important health problem.

    In the first place, if the parents are obese, they must realise that their children are more likely to develop obesity as days go by. Medical experts are firm in their opinion that obesity of parents is a leading cause for childhood obesity. Even if we ignore about what the role of genetics is, one thing is pretty clear that obese parents are responsible for a child’s genes, diet, and behavioral patterns. It should always be in the mind of parents whether they are obese or not, that their obese child if they have one, should atleast maintain the weight, if the child cannot reduce the rate of gain in weight . Excessive calorie consumption and lack of physical activity are the two major culprits for the children to be obese , but they are controllable risk factors if parents pay heed to them and take very serious pro-active role and monitor their child’s weight reduction.

    At home , parents and those interested in the child should conduct themselves as the child’s best role model. If you are staying active, and eating a balanced diet, there is no reason why your children should nor follow your lead. You have to educate the child.

    In is better to know that there are certain things to do for such obese children by their parents:-

    Keep healthier food in the house, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy foods etc.. Encourage and teach moderation in eating for children, Set norms and limits on fatty food stuffs, as also for high sugar foods to be eaten each day. Limit television and video time to not more than two hours a day . Encourage activities like bike riding, swimming, playing outdoor games, and participating in sports. Till the child gets to normal weight , have at home, novel weekly programmes like” No TV “, “No outside food week”,etc and encourage your child to actively participate. They should forget gradually the eating habit of anything and everything .

    Last and most important ones. Parents should know that their obese children themselves are aware of their obesity problem and can be very sensitive to such overwight problems. They can fall prey to remarks from their friends and relations which may agitate their young mind. This issue must be approached in a very gentle and personal manner. Permanent emotional scars, blemishes, wounds on the young mind of such children should be avoided. Protect them. They are also a part of your family, and part of society.

  2. excellent feedback Mr.Sundaram 🙂 However, i would also suggest parents to monitor what their children eat in the first place.


    Thank you for your good words, Raj.

    I am sorry to touch upon the subject of Obesity and Children, time and again, because nobody realises the bad effects of children spending quite a bit of time daily on TV and Computer which in the long run affect not only their studies resulting in poor performance in school, but also attack their health, gradually to suffer from a serious disease called in medical term as metabolic syndrome– a very strong foreteller of Diabetes and Heart disease to develop in the long run.

    Over the last two decades and more, the lifestyle of our children have become a lot more sedentary. Much of this change can be attributed to the fact that children today are spending so much of time in front of the TV screen and Computer. This definitely impacts their health as well as their life style. One aspect is that they are firmly rooted in front of the TV screen without any physical movement for a pretty long time which is not good for their health. Secondly their mind gets bombarded with all sorts of advertisements prompting them to buy unhealthy choices of food items and consume them. Third point is that, they develop the tendency to eat without feeling the appetite for food, because they want to reach back to resume seeing the TV as quick as possiuble after finishing the eating ritual. Last but not the least, gradually they also develop the habit of loss of sleep which can also add to the damage of their health.

    No doubt advising children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and healthy way of living will be the best, if children respond to such advices positively. It will however be the duty mainly of the parents and then relations if they can, to do this sort of advice. School authorities, Teachers from the schools where the children study also can take responsibility to some extent in this matter, by having an eye on such children, questioning the children, and by talking to parents – both father and mother – with the child before them so that the child knows that there is somebody overseeing their activities. Even Government, Corporate bodies and the business community can take some interest in these, by offering scholarships , cash awards etc to the best mark scoring students which may divert the attention of students from TV and computer .Children of today are going to be the future citizens of tomorrow.

    All said and done, while all the above suggestions can be just tried, television viewing cannot be totally restricted. One can bring in a little amount of control on children if they are properly advised of the negative aspects. In fact technology has advanced so much and present day situation is such that Television viewing can likely become more and more attractive with the advent of modern sophisticated techniques, bigger screens, professional advertising and very interesting programmes round the clock..

    Parents must shed off their lethargy , take off from their business schedule a few minutes, take note of what is happening at home in respect of their children. In fact they should spend more time with their children and get involved in their daily routine , their studies, also in their playing out door games etc, which will be beneficial to both of them and thereby pave the way for a healthy family and also in the long run a healthy society. .

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