“S/he is still going to grow out of it,” say some parents of obese children. Doctors claim, however, that most overweight kids or adolescents will not be able to get rid of the excess pounds for a lifetime. Today, I’ve done some in-depth research for you and gathered some facts for childhood obesity.
We’re all in this together, and although the issue is drastic and seemingly hopeless, if we change the way we look at the problem, we can combat this sneaky, chronic disease – thus, smoothen the floor for our new generation, so they can lead a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
Take an eight-year-old with 88 pounds, who can barely keep up during a sport session at school, or a 15-year-old weighing 100 kilograms, who remains excluded from the social life of his peers – Both situations lead to the same outcome: Highly overweight children and teens suffer equally with bad health and a damaged psyche – and that for a lifetime.
Many parents have the wrong mindset regarding this critical matter.
A child or a teenager with obesity usually will not normalize his weight again, although many parents believe differently.
What we, therefore, need is a new perspective and fresh therapeutic goals.
With the growing number of overweight children and adolescents all over the world, the number of therapy offers has grown in recent years, too. The focus here is usually on weight reduction.
Experience has taught us, however, that a therapy, against all hopes from doctors, parents and children alike, almost always fails, because a child with adipose tissue does not get slim.
Unfortunately, in society, the erroneous assumption is still widespread that a chubby child can quickly get lean again – or that the youngster will lose his baby fat.
As an example, the physician treats an eight-year-old with 88 pounds of weight at 130 centimeters in size. If he weighs 300 grams less in the course of therapy after one year, then that is a great success.
It should be remembered that the boy also grows with time. For a 15-year-old with 102 kilograms of weight at 170 centimeters in size, it would be an achievement if he would lose 10.5 pounds in a year.
The amount of body fat to lose is higher because a 15-year-old usually will not grow much more. This scale shows you what good programs achieve; for those who persevere.
Even a Small Weight Loss is Worthwhile
These therapies would, however, not be fitting for everyone affected question, as they demand an immense amount of motivation and time availability.
Of 100 seriously overweight children and adolescents, a maximum of ten percent participated in such programs, and only a third of these participants have had any success at all.
From a medical point of view, however, even a small weight loss or holding the weight is worthwhile. The metabolism improves and the insulin sensitivity of the organs, the blood sugar value, decreases along with the elevated blood pressure.
These laboratory values show the positive effects far more clearly than mere focus on pounds.
This has also been proven several times in studies of obese adults, too. Anyone who manages to slim down around five percent did a great service for his health.
The risk for many weight-related illnesses is reduced significantly.
The body fat percentage shrinks by eight percent – including the most unhealthy and dangerous belly fat decreases by seven percent. This is a great reward for a small, yet vital, mission.
Obesity is a Chronic Disease
It is good that there are programs for children and adolescents regarding obesity and weight loss, however, there is a need for improvement in the objectives and the basic assumptions.
Massive weight loss should not be the primary focus, but an improvement of the metabolism on a changed nutritional diet and physical activity level. A process of learning to rethink is also essential. Basically, it is important to see obesity as a chronic disease and treat it as such – The individual is not to blame!
When we talk about obesity, we’re talking about a chronic disease, and the percentage of genetic predisposition to being overweight is 40 to 70 percent in children. The rest is a habit; part of a lifestyle. The readily available finished products are higher in energy than foods used to be in the past.
Slim People were Just Born Lucky
Instead of playing outdoors, the kids are sitting for hours in front of computers, TVs or mobile phones.
These changes in environmental conditions are the same for everyone – but not everyone reacts in the same manner.
People with normal and ideal weight are just lucky enough to have better genetics, and the intestinal flora and epigenetic factors also play a role.
These are innate but not inherited traits that are shaped, for example, by the diet of a mother during her pregnancy. Overall, the weight is more than 50 percent biological, maybe even 80 percent.
Still, many parents are not aware of the devastating consequences for their child’s life, if they continue to ignore the extra pounds or to see them as unproblematic. Obesity is always bad for your health, even when a toddler. There is only one exception: breastfed babies. For bottle feeding, the situation is already another.
With the first Enrollment at the School, the Problems Grow
The statistics show that the issue mainly starts with the school enrollment, as the children move less and the media consumption increases significantly. On television, in turn, they advertise allegedly healthy, but in fact strongly sugary and fatty children’s food for the parent’s convenience.
Among the complex contexts of obesity is that an overweight child suffers from motor impairment, thus, loses the desire to exercise more quickly than normal weight kids.
One single measure cannot solve such a complex problem. Like any chronic patient, obese people needed continued care.
When we send an asthmatic child, for example, to the spa, we simply cannot expect that it will never again need asthma medication.
The child will need a chain of treatments over many years. Unfortunately, they often do not receive the essential care,
The current courses often last only a few weeks, and one or two times there are informational offers for the parents included, and that’s just not enough to get a chronic disease under control.
Ironically, it is left to school children to educate their parents concerning this issue.
This means that our society puts minors in charge of something that most adults fail to master.
So, the family remains the same, because of the lack of information, knowledge, and awareness.
For those affected, the barely achievable expectations created additional pressure and grief. Adolescents who come for counseling because of their weight problem would often have additional psychological problems such as depression and severe anxiety. This is often diagnosed very late.
In extreme cases, a stomach reduction or gastric bypass surgery is possible in adolescents. Because the intestinal physiology is changed significantly, long-term control and the regular intake of dietary supplements is necessary.
Otherwise, there will be serious side effects. The requirements for motivation and perseverance are ultimately the same as for therapy.
A decisive factor is the social environment, as shown, among other things, by a recent study in America. For example, there are links to the number of shops selling cheap snacks in the neighborhood, the presence of parks and the crime rate – children are less likely to leave their homes in insecure surroundings.
An initial study also shows that the likelihood of overweight correlates perfectly with whether the children already have their own TV in the room.
The gap between social strata is very pronounced regarding overweight. Healthy eating and exercise are not affordable for everyone.
The safe parks are more likely to be found in the more expensive districts, and cheap foods, in particular, are often obesity-promoting.
The food without added sugar can be found more in the health food stores. Plus, it often so happens that an apple is more expensive than a candy bar. Therefore, the problem of childhood obesity definitely is also one of social justice.
Extreme Overweight leads to a Spiral of Problems
Again, there is an uneasy spiral: Obese folks don’t get a good job so easily, and they’re more likely to pair up with an equally overweight person – and, after having children, will ever so often pass the problem on to the next generation.
In politics and the public, the topic is still hardly present; almost a taboo! Diabetes, for example, is a result of obesity – but is much more accepted and present in our society. It would be necessary “politically inconvenient” to make changes.
Advertising restrictions, for example, a significant increase in sports in school and after-school or even just putting up drinking water dispensers in schools. The knowledge for improvement and for the urgency of the situation is already there; they’re just not converting it into action.
The view of the problem is, in my humble opinion, completely wrong. It’s always about the children to change and do everything – all alone. Where is the logic? It is unjust and wrong to load them with this enormous amount of responsibility.
Childhood obesity is a collective issue, and it involves every single one of us – so STOP looking away and ignoring the fact.
Become a beautiful role model instead; the change begins within YOU. In society, even through regulative measures, the desired change will happen automatically to the children as well.
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Meanwhile, I’m sending you much love, harmony and happiness. Remember that you’re beautiful, precious and unique. Thus, keep on shining.