Monday, 26 March 2012

Prevent Childhood Obesity

Is your child obese? You are not alone. Statistics show that one in four children are overweight or obese. Obesity is among the most common preventable medical condition affecting children in developed countries. It has a profound effect on children's life.

childhood obesity facts
Being overweight at young age increases the risk of developing many health problems. There are various factors that can lead to a child becoming overweight. A better understanding of these facts will help you prevent your child becoming overweight.

Some shocking facts about childhood obesity.

  • About 25 per cent of kids are either obese or overweight.
  • The incidence of obesity among children has become more than three times in the past three decades.
  • Three in four obese children will also be obese in their adult life.
  • Majority of fat kids are bullied at school.
  • Many obese children have sleep apnea which can cause poor school performance.

What is childhood obesity?

A child is considered to be obese when his or her body weight is significantly over the ideal body weight for height. In general, if your child's weight is 20 per cent or more in excess of the expected weight, he or she is obese.

Growth charts are used to monitor height and weight in children. The 50th percentile line is the average weight for the corresponding height. For example; imagine a child's expected weight is 20kg. His actual weight is 26 kg. This is 30 per cent more than the expected weight. So the child is considered to be overweight.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is less accurate in measuring obesity in children. However,there are special BMI charts available that are corrected for age. These BMI charts are designed to take into account normal weight gain during periods of growth. Separate charts are used for boys and girls.

In addition, it is recommended to take children's waist circumference to get a more accurate picture.

What causes childhood obesity?

The risk of becoming obese is determined by both genetic and environmental factors.

Genetic factors.

Some children are genetically more susceptible to gain more weight. The fact is, if one or both parents are overweight, there is more chance their children become obese.

The genetic link was demonstrated by the results of studies involving identical twins who were raised apart. It is concluded that the contribution of genetic factor is about 40 per cent.

A study of 300 children with severe obesity by the University of Cambridge concluded that loss of a key segment of DNA can be a cause for obesity in children.

Environmental and lifestyle factors.

Fast food:  Over-consumption of fast food is one of the main cause of excessive weight gain in kids. Majority of fast food items are loaded with fat. They are often super sized portions. So they invariably contain large number of calories. Here are some shocking facts about fast food.

Unhealthy snacks: Children usually get hungry long before the next regular mealtime. So they tend to eat snacks more frequently. Choosing snacks that contain large amounts of sugar such as candy, chocolate, and cakes results in gaining too much body fat.

The soft drink culture: Soft drinks are everywhere and they are a real problem. Fizzy drinks constitute the leading source of added sugar in the diet. Vending machines are part of the soft drink culture. children are easily able to buy Coke, Pepsi, and Fanta with their pocket money. These drinks are often cheaper than a bottle of water.

Fatty foods: Eating too much fat can be a cause of obesity in children. However, fat is a necessary part of a healthy diet. Kids need essential fatty acids for their growth and development. Too much restriction of fat in kids diet is not a good idea. It is essential to ensure your child gets an adequate amount of healthy fats such as omega 3.

High GI food: GI or Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on the extent to which they raise glucose levels in the blood. The scale is from 0 to 100. Food with high GI cause rapid fluctuation in blood sugar levels.

Consumption of meals composed of mainly high GI foods causes inappropriate insulin response, which results in increased hunger. Consumption of high GI diet has been linked to over-eating and obesity.

Inadequate physical activity: Less amount of outdoor activities is clearly linked to excessive weight gain in children. Nowadays, kids do not get enough exercise to keep them fit. They do not burn enough energy from the food that they are eating.

Children who don't get enough exercise tend to put on weight on their bellies. They will develop apple shape bodies. This type of fat distribution is called central obesity, which possess greater health risks.

Television and video games: The link between TV viewing and childhood obesity is well established. Television and computer games promote weight gain not only because they take the place of physical activity, but also by increasing food intake. Television viewing encourages unhealthy snacking.

Stress and emotional factors: Excessive stress is a strong risk factor for obesity in children. Kids tend to eat more when they are stressed. They eat comfort foods such as lollies, candy, and chocolate to relieve feelings of discomfort and distress.

In addition, cortico-steroid hormones produced when we are under chronic stress encourage the formation of fat cells in the body.

Health effects of childhood obesity.

Overweight weight children as compared to children with normal weight are more likely to develop health problems. They tend to grow into obese adults. For example; one study found that about 80 per cent of children who were overweight were obese at the age of 25.

Kids who are obese have greater risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and obstructive sleep apnea.

These children often suffer from psychological and emotional problems. They are often teased and bullied by their peers. this can lead to low self esteem, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems.

Ways to help your child maintain a healthy weight.

It is important to help your children to have a healthy body weight. The whole family should be involved in the process of making healthy changes in eating habits and physical activity.

Here are some tips to prevent excessive weight gain in children.

  • Teach your kids about healthy eating. Explain what foods are healthy and what they do for their bodies.
  • Give them plenty of vegetables. They are good source of vitamins and fiber.
  • Do not buy unhealthy snacks, your kids are going to eat them.
  • Provide fruits to eat at snack times.
  • Whole grain products are good for you and your children.
  • Encourage them to drink more water.
  • Avoid giving sweetened drinks.
  • Your children need adequate amounts of protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. So, too much restriction on diet is not advisable.
  • Limit the intake of sugar and other sweets.
  • Keep portion size small.
  • Never insist that a child clears his or her plate. If they have had enough, allow them to say so.
  • Eat the same food as your children. There should be no distinction between kids food and adult food.
  • Sit down together as a family for meals. Eating together helps increase the intake of healthy foods, like vegetables and fruits.
  • Encourage your child to do some outdoor activity. Games such as soccer, tennis, and badminton are good physical exercises.
  • At least an hour of moderate physical activity is essential for kids to keep their body in good health condition.
  • Limit television viewing to no more than an hour per day. This time limit should cover activity on computer and game consoles.
  • Let your kids have enough sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to childhood obesity.
  • Finally, don't forget to consult your doctor. Some medical conditions can cause excessive weight gain in children.
Obesity is a preventable condition. So, act now and help your children have a healthy life.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of operation done in morbidly obese people. In fact, it is one of the most common weight loss surgery performed in many parts of the world.

Gastric bypass is done when diet and exercise have not worked. Serious health problems related to obesity is other indication for this procedure.

Gastric bypass operation is not for everyone who is severely obese. You may need to fulfill certain criteria to qualify for this surgical procedure.

You may be selected for this surgery if you have tried to lose weight by diet and exercise, and if

  • Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 40 or more.
  • You have serious obesity related problems and your BMI is more than 35.
  • Your body weight is more than 45 kg above the ideal body weight for your hight and sex.
  • And your age is between 18 and 65.

Shop smart to fight obesity

Making smart choices at the supermarket can help you fight obesity, and reduce your body weight.

Here are some tips for smart shopping.

  • Always have a shopping list. Prepare a list of items before going to the supermarket or grocery store. Always give priority to vegetables and fruits. Write the name of fruits and vegetables that you want to by.  More than a half of your list should be filled with these items.
  • Buy whole grain cereals and wholemeal bread. They contain fewer calories and more fiber. Eating fiber rich foods is a good way to lose weight.
  • Choose trimmed milk or low fat milk. Do not purchase full cream or sweetened milk.
  • Select lean meat. Avoid buying meat that contain visible fat.
  • Choose skinless chicken breast. The skin of chicken contain lots of saturated fat.
  • Don't forget to buy fish on every visit. They are good source of proteins and omega 3 fatty acids. High protein meals will reduce your apatite.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Drink more water to lose weight

Drinking more water is an easy way to lose weight. Believe it or not, water is the cheapest and healthiest zero calorie drink. I am talking about pure water, not water containing fizzy drinks, which are a major cause of obesity.
Drink more water to lose weight.
Drinking water can help you to lose weight in several ways. First, it will replace other drinks which contain calories such as soft drinks and fruit juices.

Second, drinking more water will reduce your apatite. It helps fill your stomach, making you less hungry. Drinking water before every meal is a better way to achieve this benefits.

Obesity is not an inevitable condition. You can prevent it by simple lifestyle changes. The first step that you should take is having adequate amounts of water.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Apple and pear shape obesity: Which is better?

According to the pattern of fat distribution in the body, obesity is categorised into two types; apple-shaped obesity and pear-shaped obesity.

apple and pear shape body
Pear and apple shape obesity

The apple body shape results from deposition of fat in and around the abdomen. People with this type of body have big belly, and their waist circumference will be more than their hip circumference.

This type of body shape is linked to greater health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Walking, The best exercise to lose weight

walking to lose weight
Walking is the best exercise.
Walking is the easiest and cheapest ways for losing weight. All you need is a high level of motivation and a good pair of shoes.

It is recommended to do at least 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days of the week. You don't need to do it in one session. You can divide the time into three 10 minutes periods.

Walking is the most recommended exercise for people with obesity or overweight. There are many reasons for that.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

16 Shocking effects of obesity

Obesity and overweight are associated with many adverse health effects. Nearly 300,000 Americans lose their lives prematurely due to obesity related complications. Here is a list of 16 bad consequences of obesity.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Natural ways to prevent obesity

Here are some natural ways to prevent obesity and overweight. The tips provided here are also good for losing weight in obese people.

ways to prevent obesity
Three cornerstones to prevent obesity

Healthy diet to prevent obesity.

  • Eat plenty of vegetables. They contain fewer calories and are good source of fiber. Fresh or frozen vegetables are better than caned ones.
  • Eat fruits for snack time. Like vegetables fruits have less calories and more fiber. In addition, they are excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Go directly to the fruit and vegetable section when you enter the supermarket and fill the basket. Then you will be less likely to buy unhealthy food.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Central obesity and health risks

What is central obesity?

Central obesity is the presence of excess fat in the abdomen. In this condition, the amount of fat deposited in the abdomen is out of proportion to total body fat.

This condition is also known as
  • Belly fat
  • Visceral fat
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Apple shape obesity
  • Pot belly
  • Beer belly
  • Central adiposity

Friday, 2 March 2012

Morbid obesity definition, causes, health risks and treatment

Morbid obesity is a severe form of obesity that can cause serious health related complications. Morbidly obese people are at greater risk of developing illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, and cancer.

What is morbid obesity?

There are several criteria to define morbid obesity. The commonly used definition used Body Mass Index (BMI) as the measuring parameter.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Causes of obesity and overweight

Obesity is a complex medical condition caused by several factors. It is obvious that energy imbalance is the commonest cause. It means consuming too many calories or burning fewer calories. This article explains the leading causes of too much weight gain.

Eating too much causes obesity

Consumption of extra calories is among the major causes of obesity.

Different foods contain different amounts of calories. When the total intake of calories exceeds the requirement, it causes excess weight gain. For example; if your daily energy need is 2000kcal and you eat 2800kcal a day, you will gain 100g of body weight each day. That means 3kg in one month.

What is obesity?

Obesity is excessive accumulation of fat in the body to such a degree that it increases the risk of adverse health events. Obesity is not just a few extra pounds or kilos. However, excessive fat deposition invariably leads to increased body weight.

There is no universal definition for obesity and overweight. People use many different parameters to define these conditions. The commonly accepted system uses body mass index (BMI) as the sole criterion.

Definition of obesity

People with a body mass index of 30 or more are considered to be obese. A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is called overweight.