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Childhood obesity – The impending epidemic!

Tue 26 Oct 2021    
EcoBalance
Dr. Nidhi Agarwal | 4 min read

WFH and Study from Home – the most common words heard in the last two years. Its biggest side-effect with mammoth growth is considered to be the next epidemic aka Childhood Obesity.

Children have suffered the most during the pandemic. They can’t express in words what exactly they are feeling, unlike adults but their physical and mental health has been affected the most.

You must be wondering how is this possible? They were eating healthy food made at home with a mothers love, spending time with their parents all the while. Most importantly, there was no pressure of going to school. Then why is their physical and mental health affected?

The flip side
My dear readers, let’s flip the coin and see what was the actual side of the story of a child. In pre-covid era, kids use to go and meet their classmates, pals and enjoy studies along with more physical activity involved. Their way of socialising and belonging became a thing of the past. During covid times the scenario is just like their parents sitting in front of the screen without blinking their eyes, eating patterns were disrupted, no interactions with their age group kids resulting in a change in growth hormones and most importantly imbalanced mental health. All these factors ended up giving water to the seeds of the upcoming epidemic which is obesity in kids.

During the lockdown, we all panicked and what we did was storing long shelf life foods which instantly increases the girth of the belly area, unlike instant Maggi which is quite thin to look at potentially thinning out our chances of healthy well-nourished food.

Lack of time for kids made parents store sugary beverages so that these drinks can suffice an instant hunger pang while they are busy with their office meeting. Most definitely you can’t forget all mommies posting on social media their newly developed baking skills where family bonding was established for sure but jeopardized a kid’s health. Imagine the amount of flour intake! Does it ring an alarm bell?

In the past 3 decades, child obesity rates have doubled in kids and tripled in teenagers. Amidst Covid, the scenario has taken a boom. Death rates from covid 19 have been ten times higher in obese people. We all are optimistic that vaccines can help us to bring down the covid death rate yet my question is what about the immunity of obese kids? Now that’s definitely a hindrance as lower immune response, high inflammation in the body and insulin sensitivity makes your child more vulnerable to fall for covid associated and other infections. Obesity can lead to Diabetes, high cholesterol, heart ailments, joint issues and sleep disorders.

Parents say that kids keep on jumping here and there but is it a productive playing around? Inculcate the habit of teamwork and communication amongst your kids. Activity should be tiring and it should increase their appetite. My child doesn’t sleep at night, my child is hyperactive that the child doesn’t get sleep which impacts the hormones and that’s how the hormonal reset is missing. No communication, peer pressure of becoming cool by eating junk, parents need to change their own lifestyle before preaching.

Swiggy Zomato & food delivery apps are at their peak as we all want a cheat meal after a hectic week but my question is have you earned it? You can spend a few bucks to eat a few hundred calories in a few minutes but what about the major impact of it in the long run. Give it a thought. You are what you eat and this not only includes your body it includes your mind too. Teach your child to stop eating when they are full rather than ordering them to finish the plate.

Don’t reward good behaviour with sweets.
Don’t restrict junk completely as it leads to hide and seek with cravings and kids start eating foods without telling you. Celebrate small moments like if your child tries bottle gourd then he or she deserves a treat. Teach your child to eat without screen time. Kids need to learn the benefit of healthy eating, mindfulness and self-love. Most importantly they need to understand weighing scales are meaningless they only give you anxiety and body shaming. Throw them in a dustbin and start working on your lifestyle changes and imbibe healthy habits which will help you lifelong.

We estimate that affecting energy balance by 100 kilocalories per day (by a combination of reductions in energy intake and increase in physical activity) could prevent weight gain in most of the population. This can be achieved by small changes in behaviour, such as 15 minutes per day of walking or eating fewer bites at each meal. Having a specific behavioural target for the prevention of weight gain may be key to arresting the obesity epidemic. Your child’s eating habits may not be the parents fault completely but fixing them is their responsibility definitely. So go ahead and win their hearts for sure but remember junk food and slothful online studies without any physical activities is only bringing doomsday closer each day.

Be sure you aren’t giving in to obesity. Fatten up a healthy life and not your kid’s plate.


Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in The Brew View – our opinion section – are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TheBrew.ae, the company, or any of its members.


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