Childhood obesity and overweight are some of the most important and worrying health problems in the world. Experts do not hesitate to consider it as a public health problem.
- The prevalence of overweight: 23.2% (22.4% in boys and 23.9% in girls).
- The prevalence of obesity: 18.1% (20.4% in boys and 15.8% in girls).
Obesity and being overweight are related to an increased risk of diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.
An obese adult is exposed to many diseases. In a child, those risks do not change: an obese child is more likely to suffer from pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and sleep disorders.
It is proven that a small obese child will be an adult with some health condition if the situation does not reverse. Also, boys and girls with weight problems or obesity suffer from lower self-esteem, affecting their character and social life.
1. Against Obesity, Greater Awareness
Since the 80s and 90s, obesity and overweight children have been gaining ground in our society. Nowadays, the problem worries specialists, although the good news is that there is a slight stagnation in the figures.
“Although obesity continues to increase since the 90s, it seems that in the aftermost 10 or 15 years, due to the different studies that we have, a specific stabilization is taking place, even with a slight tendency to decrease. But This must still be viewed with caution because, in any case, we still observe a very high frequency of childhood obesity.“
In the aftermost 10 or 15 years, the figures are still unacceptable.
“There is an increasing awareness of the problem of childhood obesity, especially in schools. Children must learn to eat and do so at school and home. The subject of Nutritional Education must be fundamental.“
2. Obesity in Europe
Recently, in 2017, the prestigious magazine ‘The Lancet’ published figures that were especially worrying for specialists. On the European continent, between 12 and 16 million young people are obese or overweight, that is:
- The 19% -49% of children.
- The 18% -43% of girls.
3. The 5 Risk Factors of Childhood Obesity
We could summarize the causes of the current increase in childhood obesity in 5 points:
a. Do Not Eat Breakfast
There are no data, but according to Doctors, ” we know that there are children who do not eat breakfast and, also, if they do, there is usually a deficit in the supply of food.”
Breakfast is the central feast of the day. So children should have three food groups: a dairy or derivative (milk, yogurt or cheese, for example), a cereal-based food (bread, preferably whole grain or equivalent) and a piece of fruit or a homemade fruit juice.
b. Little Sleep
“In the Mediterranean countries, children get little sleep. They usually go to bed late, which means they have less time in the morning, making it difficult for them to have a leisurely breakfast.”
According to each age, children have to go to bed early so that they sleep the indicated hours.
And to have time, the next day, to have a leisurely breakfast.
c. Sedentary Lifestyle
- According to Doctors, they consume, on average, between 2-4 hours a day in front of the screens (TV, tablets, mobile phones, etc.).
- They do not have, does not exist, the culture of going out to play outside (due to the environment, due to the danger of traffic, because there are hardly any green environments ). The daily routine of going out to play has been lost.
Computer and mobile have stolen time from outdoor play.
- According to the Children’s Play Observatory (OIJ), children have to play. It is your right. It is better to do it in free spaces since it allows them to experiment with the senses, perform physical activity, and prevent overweight and obesity.
“Sedentary lifestyle is the most important key that favors childhood obesity today. We must do something to stop it.”
d. Lack of Fruits and Vegetables
- You have to consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Like the older ones, the children too.
- It may be interchangeable, but the goal is to take five servings daily.
- According to a 2016 study, 3 out of 10 children and adolescents eat vegetables only once a day, and 26% do it 2 to 4 times a week.
- It is necessary to grow social awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetables in children.
e. Do Not Take a Varied Diet
Pastries and soft drinks should be consumed on time.
10 tips for proper infant feeding.
- Eat five times a day.
- Have a good breakfast (which includes dairy, cereals, and fruit).
- Eat fruit mid-morning.
- At snack, it is advisable to take at least one dairy or a piece of fruit.
- It is worth taking two or three times a week meat (preferably white).
- And fish, three or four times a week.
- Take legumes. They can be alternated with vegetables and mixed with cereals.
- Cereals. Bread, pasta, and rice are a must.
- Swallow 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- The potato is excellent food, it is a good energy source, but you have to know-how.
4. The Parent’s Diet Does Matter
- But also that the children see that at home they eat in a balanced and varied way is essential.
- That parents take fruit and vegetables, legumes, fish, and dispense with soft drinks, ready meals, or pastries will be the best way for children to adopt good habits at the table straightforwardly and spontaneously.