Myth Alert: A chubby child is a healthy child
In India, chubby children are often considered healthy, happy and well-cared for. Families often end up pampering kids with foods that are high in fats and sugars, like sweets, chocolates and candies. However, while most children tend to lose the baby fat as they grow up, parents need to be careful so that chubbiness doesn’t pave the way for health issues like obesity in children.
Everyone loves young chubby toddlers with that cherubic and adorable look. This fat boosts their rapid growth too. However, around two years of age, they start growing in height and gradually lose their chubbiness. But if your little one doesn’t seem to slim down, you need to take notice.
Chubbiness and nutrition
Being aware of unhealthy chubbiness is the first step you can take, as a parent, to keep childhood obesity at bay. Parents need to ensure that their kids are not eating more than is required. This is because overeating can lead to excess weight gain. Also, ensure that meals are balanced and include foods from all major groups. Your child should be active too or participate in some form of sport regularly.
Besides obesity, childhood undernutrition is a problem that needs to be understood well. This term doesn’t imply starvation or lack of sufficient food intake. Rather, it indicates that your child is not consuming enough of nutritious foods. Childhood undernutrition indicates the consumption of the wrong kinds of foods, which are loaded with saturated fats, excess salt or excess sugar. Children suffering from undernutrition often end up consuming too many sugary drinks and junk foods. And naturally, too many empty calories lead to obesity.
Childhood obesity, health issues, and body weight
Childhood obesity is on the rise these days. Kids these days spend their leisure hours watching TV or playing games on mobile devices. This lack of physical activity worsens the problem of poor eating habits.
Since every kid is different, the effects of obesity or an inactive lifestyle might vary too. For instance, the effects of childhood obesity can be physiological or psychological or both.
- On the physiological scale The biggest challenge children with obesity problems face is lethargy. Such kids might lack interest in outdoor games and lean towards a sedentary lifestyle. In future, this can lead to severe health complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailments, sleep disorder, and so on. This is the reason why obesity needs to be addressed as early as possible. It can add years to your child’s life too.
- On the psychological scale
Childhood obesity can have major psychological effects as well. Such kids often cannot handle stress, failure, or rejection with ease. If they are not able to keep up with friends while playing or are made to feel embarrassed about their weight, it can have a deeply negative effect on their psyche. Low self-esteem, depression and even suicidal tendencies can be long term effects of childhood obesity, along with the health implications mentioned above.
So, providing healthy meals at all times will ensure that your child gets to maintain a healthy weight and can keep diseases at bay. Encourage them to get involved in a sport like football, badminton, swimming or basketball, which will require them to move around a lot and shed calories. Remember to pack healthy lunches for school so that they do not indulge in junk foods. Stock up your kitchen with healthy and natural foods, so that you can minimise the access to sugary treats or sweetened beverages. And remember to follow a healthy lifestyle yourself. This way, your child will imitate you and become a healthier adult.