While children continue to be an affected age group in the second wave of the pandemic, new reports have found that kids in India are overweight, largely lead a poor lifestyle and showcase poor health and fitness levels. A survey conducted by the Sportz Village Schools on Delhi children has now revealed that over 51% of the kids have an unhealthy BMI, meaning that every 1 in 2 children suffer from poor lifestyle habits and may be overweight.
Not only is obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle a leading risk factor during COVID times, childhood obesity is also tied to a lot of worrisome disorders in the later years. What’s also concerning is that childhood obesity is on the rise in India, home to the second-highest number of obese children in the world.
Factors and causes: Why is childhood obesity so concerning?
Statistics show that between 6-8% of schoolchildren in India suffer from some form of obesity, which is a significant public health concern.
There are numerous reasons why children are obese, which range from lifestyle to genetics and hormones. There are also a number of risk factors that increase your child’s risk of getting obese:
- Lack of exercise
- Poor nutrition control
- socioeconomic status
- Certain medications
- Increased number of meals at home
However, the most pressing cause behind child obesity is their lifestyle, which had changed tremendously over the years, and has been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids are sitting in front of the screen, with zero to no exercise or physical activity that can boost their physical or mental health.
Obese children are at a higher risk of developing serious health issues like hypertension, high cholesterol and triglycerides, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, respiratory problems, emotional disturbances, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems and some cancers.
Apart from these health complications, obese children can be ridiculed, bullied and made fun of due to their weight. This can affect the child’s self-image, confidence and increase their risk of depression and anxiety.
How to tackle childhood obesity: What can parents do?
We all have heard that prevention is better than cure, therefore it is better to prevent child obesity than to deal with its complications. There are certain changes that one can make that can prevent childhood obesity. This includes:
- Increasing fruit and vegetable intake
- Set an example for the kids
- Hygiene Sleep
- Reward your children with things other than food
- Help them maintain a healthy relationship with food
As parents, it is your duty to help your child during this process. You cannot expect them to change their habits, without changing your habits. Children follow their parents and if you want your child to change their behaviour, you need to show them how to do it. Do not fixate on their weight and make weight-related goals, fixate on a healthy lifestyle. You should be a good role model to them, show them how to live a healthy lifestyle and choose nutritious alternatives. You can include the whole family and not single out your child by making them follow a health plan. You should create a healthy environment at home and not criticize your child’s weight, making them feel bad. Lastly, get routine check-ups so that you can figure out the problem before it becomes dangerous. These ways not only prevent childhood obesity but also treats the problem.