Did you know that childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years? This has become a huge problem, and it’s something that we need to address as a society. In fact, we must look at kids diets and activities, including exercise for obese children.
Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a widely used measure to assess weight and obesity. In fact, a BMI of 25-29.99 kg/m² indicates excess weight, while a BMI of 30 kg/m² or more indicates obesity.
In this article we discuss the causes of childhood obesity and the health problems associated with it. Not only that, we look at ways to prevent childhood obesity and provide some helpful exercise for obese children.
It’s time to take action and make a change for our kids!
3 Main Factors That Contribute To Childhood Obesity
There are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity. These include choices around food and drinks, but also lifestyle factors.
The last couple of years meant that children have spent more time at home and unable to play sports. In fact, most children couldn’t even get to the park or ride their bikes. Obesity levels in children are at an all time high.
Not only must we counter the mental anxiety our children are suffering, we must look at exercise for obese children. Let’s get our kids outside and moving plus eating well to prevent childhood obesity.
1. Lack Of Physical Activity
One of the most significant factors with childrens weight is the lack of physical activity. Children who are not active are more likely to be overweight or obese. This is because they are not burning off the calories that they are consuming.
The rise of the internet, gaming consoles and devices has meant that our children now connect with their friends online. They no longer need to leave the house to chat with or see their friends. They simply scan Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram etc to see what their friends are doing!
This fact, combined with bad eating choices have created explosive levels of childhood obesity.
To keep your kids active and fit, read Outdoor Play: 10 Tips to Get Kids Outside and Active!
2. Unhealthy Eating Habits
Another factor that contributes to childhood obesity is unhealthy eating habits. Children who eat a lot of junk food and sugary drinks are more likely to be overweight or obese. This is because these foods and drinks are high in calories and can lead to weight gain.
Not only that, recent research has shown that a families choices around mealtime structure contribute to childhood obesity. Eating in front of the TV or eating out reguarly leads to increase fat consumption.
It is up to parents to educate children on healthy foods to prevent childhood obesity.
Here are some helpful tips to teach kids healthy eating habits – 5 Healthy Eating Habits Parents Should Teach Their Kids. Check it out!
3. Family History
Another factor that can contribute to childhood obesity is a family history of obesity. If parents or grandparents are obese, children in these families are more likely to be obese as well.
In fact, BMI heredity is deemed to be between 25-40%. However, this needs to be combined with behavioural and environmental factors.
Many overweight families do not encourage exercise for obese children and this exacerbates the problem.
Prevent Childhood Obesity Health Problems
There are a multitude of health problems associated with childhood obesity. Some of the most common include:
- Type II Diabetes: In this condition, the body does not metabolize glucose well. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are overweight or obese. It is typically diagnosed in adulthood however, there has been an increase in children being diagnosed with this condition. This is largely due to the obesity epidemic.
- Cardiovascular Disease: This includes heart disease and stroke. Obese children are at a higher risk for developing these conditions later in life. The reason is due to high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.
- Sleep Apnea: Occurs when a person stops breathing for short periods of time during sleep. It can be very dangerous and lead to many other health problems.
- Joint Problems: Obesity can put a lot of strain on the joints of the body. This can lead to pain, joint stiffness, inflammation, and early degenerative problems due to excessive weight.
- High Blood Pressure: This is a condition where the blood pressure is higher than normal. This can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
- Respiratory Problems: Obesity can lead to respiratory problems, such as asthma.
These are just some of the health problems associated with overweight children. It should now be super clear that these health risks are an important reason to prevent childhood obesity. In fact, if we can find ways to incorporate exercise for obese children, we may even reduce these conditions.
Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Overweight
We now know some of the causes and health risks associated with childhood obesity. So, let’s discuss ways in which we can prevent it.
The best way to prevent childhood obesity is to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity. Here are some tips that you can follow:
- Encourage your child to be active: Make sure that your child is getting enough exercise. Encourage them to play outside, go for walks or join a sports team. The easiest way to do this is to get out there with them! Organize some fun neighborhood activities and take turns hosting them.
- Eat healthy meals as a family: Model healthy eating habits for your child. Have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains available for them to eat. Avoid having processed foods and sugary drinks in the cupboard or refrigerator.
- Limit screen time: Try to ensure that your child is not spending too much time in front of screens. Read the American Academy Of Child And Adolescent Psychology recommendations for screen time depending on children’s age.
- Encourage healthy sleep habits to prevent childhood obesity: Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep. Most children need between nine and twelve hours of sleep per night.
Exercise For Obese Children
If you are worried about your childs weight, there are some specific exercise for obese children that may help.
Breaking bad habits and establishing new ones is difficult at any age! For overweight kids, this is complicated by many factors including being embarrassed by their bodies and not being able to properly exercise.
It is important to start with simple and easy exercises for obese children. If we want to prevent childhood obesity it is imperative we find ways to get our kids active. Try these low-cost activities that the whole family can enjoy.
- Walking: Walking is a great way to get your child moving. Start with ten minutes each day and gradually increase the time as you and your child get more fit.
- Jogging: Once you are walking for 20-30 minutes without getting breathless, try short bursts of running. Jogging will get your heart rate higher than just walking and that will lead to faster weight loss. Start by jogging for 30 seconds to 1 minute each day. As your childs confidence and fitness grows they can increase the time and pace.
- Swimming: Swimming is a fun way to get your child moving, and can be done with friends for even more social development. This does not mean your child doing “laps” of a pool. Set up a couple of water polo nets and have them play a game with their friends. Frolicking in water burns a huge amount of calories. This is due to the increased resistance on the body when it moves through water.
- Cycling: Another low-cost and fun exercise for obese children is to get out on a bike. Again, this is something that can be done with friends or family. Start with short rides around the neighbourhood or to the park to play. Once your child gains confidence, try longer rides to visit people further away or go to somewhere new.
To prevent childhood obesity, it is vital that we get our kids moving. Hopefully we have shown some fun exercise for obese children that the whole family can enjoy!
Summary And Conclusion
Obesity is a serious problem around the world that leads to many health problems. It’s important that society takes action to prevent childhood obesity.
The best way to prevent this childhood epidemic is to promote healthy habits and physical activity. You can help your child lose weight by engaging in exercise for obese children. Walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are all fun, low-cost activities that the whole family can enjoy!
These are just a few of the things that you can do to help your child live a healthier and happier life. It’s time to take action and make a change! Let’s work together to prevent childhood obesity!
To learn more about how obesity is calculated, read our article – How To Use BMR To Lose Weight – Calculate BMR