Childhood obesity is a common problem in Cyprus, as many children in our country are obese.
But when is a child considered to be overweight or obese? When a child’s body weight is over his ideal body weight by 20%, then the child is considered to be overweight.
Obesity is dangerous for a child’s health but it can also have a negative impact in his life as an adult, as many different illnesses, such as diabetes, heart diseases and more, can be the result of childhood obesity.
It’s also really important to note that childhood obesity can have a negative impact on the psychological health of a child/ teenager as it can be the cause of eating disorders, low self-esteem, depression etc.
But which are the factors causing childhood obesity? The problem is mostly due to the fact that a child is taking too much calories and he doesn’t exercise. In less cases, the problem is due to genetic factors.
The modern way of life is largely responsible for obesity, not only in children, but in adults too, because we eat low quality foods and we don’t exercise.
A child’s diet is really important, as it has a great role to play in the child’s health and growth. Unfortunately, instead of a healthy and balanced diet, many children eat foods with too much sugar, salt and fats, processed and unhealthy foods. This can lead to obesity and have a negative impact in the child’s growth and general health and wellbeing.
On the other hand, children have locked themselves in their homes, spending their time in front of the tv, the computer and electronic games. If a person does not exercise, then calories aren’t burnt and fat accumulates in the body, leading a child to obesity.
But how can we help our children to avoid or deal with being overweight or obese? The answer lies in the two basic factors causing obesity, which are diet and exercise.
We make sure to always have fresh fruit and vegetables in the house and we avoid having unhealthy snacks.
We teach our children prefer healthy foods, by not giving them processed foods or foods with sugar and salt when they are babies or small children.
We cook healthy meals and avoid fried foods.
We try to cook our meals at home and we avoid take-outs and fast food.
We set rules in the use of electronic games and devises.
We encourage our children to take part in activities which include movement and exercise, such as sports, dancing, cycling, playing in the yard etc.
Childhood obesity can be difficult to be dealt with if you don’t deal with it in time. Please consult your pediatrician.