There is a big difference between adorable baby fat and a serious child health concern. If your child is struggling with their weight, it may be that you don’t know how to help or unaware there is an issue, but childhood obesity affects a vast amount of families all around the world. Most of these cases are preventable, or can be reversed. Here’s how you can help.
Understanding the Problem
Today’s statistics state that one in four children are overweight or obese. These children who are overweight are at risk of developing problems such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and more. This is not including the emotional toll obesity can cause your child. With teasing and exclusion, low self-esteem, depression and/or negative body image being just some of what your child may be going through. Diagnosing weight issues in children as early as possible is the best way to reduce their chances of developing a serious medical issue.
Is Your Child Overweight?
Every child is different, they don’t all grow the same way at the same time. Body mass index (BMI) is not always a perfect measure of body fat and can sometimes be misleading, especially in children experiencing rapid growth.
The first step in identifying if your child is overweight, is understanding what causes weight problems and obesity in children. Causes can include: frequent eating out, high-calorie fast food and junk food, large food portions (at restaurants and at home), large sugar intake (usually through sweetened drinks like juices and soft drinks), little to no activity, extended period of inactivity (such as watching TV, playing video games or sitting at a computer) and little to know sport or physical education at school.
Weight issues in children are not predestined or genetic! Although genes do play a role and can affect if a child is more or less prone to gaining more weight than others, it does not mean they cannot maintain a healthy weight with proper diet and exercise.
Combating Weight Problems
The best way to help your child combat their weight issues is for the whole family to get involved. Have the entire family start making better food choices and increasing their activity levels. Lead by example! Get involved in their life, encourage them to get active and eat healthy. A self-esteem boost is going to be the biggest milestone on the path to getting healthy.
If you think your child is overweight or obese and at risk for health concerns, consult your GP. Your Doctor can help you and your child develop a healthy lifestyle and manage the weight, getting your child and the entire family back on track.
Southport Metro Medical’s Gold Coast medical centre is fully equipped to care for patients of all ages including children. Why not make us your family doctor and we’ll look after your entire family!