Stay With Green and Keep Your Child Physically More Active to Prevent Overweight
How do you know if your child's weight gain is normal and when it's leading to childhood obesity? Children, unlike adults, need extra nutrients and calories to fuel their growth and development. So if they consume about the number of calories they need for daily activities, growth and metabolism, they add pounds in proportion to their added inches. But children who eat more calories than they need gain weight beyond what's needed to support their growing frames. In these cases, the added weight increases their risk of obesity and weight-related health problems.
There are some direct link between behavior problems and overweight.For example, Lumeng says, children who are depressed are often less active, or may console themselves with food, which may set them up for weight gain. And overweight children may develop anxieties or social interaction problems because of self-consciousness or teasing about their weight.The best weight management strategies are those that you can maintain for a lifetime.
Often, a child whose parents are overweight or obese will also be overweight or obese.Children who do not engage in frequent physical activity are much more likely to suffer from obesity. This is said to be due to the recent technological developments, including video games, computers, and mobile phones. Physically inactive children are unable to burn off the calories that they gain from eating. The body will store some or all of the unused energy as fat.
Childhood obesity may also result from unhealthy eating habits. Fast food restaurants and junk food are becoming increasingly popular with children. In lieu of home cooking, it has become common for parents to take their children out to eat. Even when it is not a fast food restaurant, frequent eating out often results in weight gain.It is also shown that children whose parents have a low income or are unemployed are more likely to be obese
Teens who have the support of their families tend to have better results with their weight management programs. But remember, you should all work together in a friendly and helpful way — making weight loss into a competition is a recipe for disaster.Don't get stuck in the rut of thinking you have to play a team sport or take an aerobics class to get exercise. Try a variety of activities from hiking to cycling to rowing until you find ones you like.
Find other ways to fit activity into your day: walk to school, jog up and down the stairs a couple of times before your morning shower, turn off the tube and help your parents in the garden, or take a stroll past your crush's house — anything that gets you moving. Your goal should be to work up to 60 minutes of exercise every day. But everyone has to begin somewhere.
Children who live in densely populated urban areas may be less likely to be overweight if they have parks and lawns in their neighborhoods, a U.S. study suggests.
This is probably because children are more active if they have access to green spaces that make physical activity more enjoyable, said lead author Dr. Gilbert Liu, of the Children's Health Services Research Program at Indiana University School of Medicine.
The study, in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, included 7,334 children, ages 3 to 18, in Marion County, Ind. The researchers used body mass index to determine which children were overweight and also looked at the amount of green space and the number of food outlets (fast food restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores) around each child's home.
Children who lived in neighborhoods with fewer green spaces were more likely to be overweight, the study authors said.
One expert said it's difficult to directly link green space and children's weight.
"We may say that green spaces are associated with kids' activity level, but we really don't know for sure," said Thomas Glass, of the department of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health in Baltimore.
"People who live in green spaces areas versus not might be different in a lot of ways that have nothing to do with the presence of green space. There are a lot of parks in Baltimore, for example, but you can point to a lot of factors, such as crime, to explain why you find these parks empty of kids playing," Glass added.
Keep in mind that many overweight children grow into their extra pounds as they get taller. Realize, too, that an intense focus on your child's eating habits and weight can easily backfire, leading a child to overeat even more, or possibly making him or her more prone to developing an eating disorder.
Rather than being critical, emphasize what's positive — the fun of playing outside, the variety of fresh fruit you can get year-round. Emphasize the benefits of exercise apart from helping to manage their weight, for example, it makes their heart, lungs and other muscles stronger. If you foster your child's natural inclination to run around, explore and eat only when hungry — not out of boredom — a healthy weight should take care of itself.