Obesity among children has reached epidemic proportions in many countries. Increasing numbers of children are heavier than they should be.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that worldwide an estimated twenty two million children under the age of five are overweight.
According to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), survey shows an alarming trend in some parts of Africa, more children are affected by obesity than by malnutrition.
One might ask: What are the factors contributing to obesity? What is behind this global epidemic of childhood obesity? While genetics can be a predisposing factor, the alarming increase in recent decades appears to indicate that genes are not the only cause.
The Mayo Clinic in the United States says: “Although there are some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity, most excess weight is caused by kids eating too much and exercising too little”.
The trend in eating habits today have changed due to working parents having less time and energy to prepare meals, fast food has increasingly become the norm. Such foods are typically high in sugar and fats and are offered in temptingly large sizes. Also, soft drinks have replaced milk and water as the beverage of choice. According to the book “Overcoming cChildhood Obesity”, just one 20 – ounce [600 ml] soft drink a day can result in a gain of 25 pounds in a year.
Studies have turned up other disturbing results. Childhood obesity has been linked to excessive television viewing. Children tend to use passive hours in front of the box rather than active hours of play. Television commercials do a handy job of selling kids on fatty junk foods that have little nutritional value.
Dr. W. Gifford. Jones asserts that an obese child is a sick child, concluding that ” it is a form of child abuse to allow young children to develop such a disease because of sheer neglect”.
Experts has it that obesity can lead to severe health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, exhaustion and sometimes death.
Nutritionists have found a better solution to childhood obesity. They do not recommend putting children on a restrictive diet, as this may compromise their growth and health. Rather, the best strategies to combat excess weight in your children is to improve the diet and exercise levels.
Make healthful habits a family commitment. If you do, they will become a way of life for your children carrying over into adulthood.
Our contributing Writer, Elizabeth Odharo is a budding journalist, blogger and a volunteer with WellBaby. She is passionate about makeup and making the world a better place. You can follow her on instagram @iamthelmasoft