Every adult knows that people who maintain a healthy weight throughout life stay healthier and live longer than those who are overweight. The lifestyle habits that help keep us slim - exercise and a healthy diet - also cut our risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. This knowledge has to be applied to children too. The problem of childhood obesity is increasing in our urban society. Childhood obesity leads to health problems, such as adult-onset diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Most of the overweight children become overweight adults. This happens because the number of fat cells that are formed in childhood does not reduce, as they grow older. Overweight children have more fat cells, which makes it more difficult for them to lose weight as adults. Children who are overweight might continue to have health risk even if they eventually lose weight.
Though there might be hereditary reasons for children getting health problems, their lifestyle is a major influence. The excess quantity & lack of quality in food, and the physical activity or lack of it, are the two major lifestyle influences on children's weight and health.
Let's prevent adult diseases in children by -
* Involving family and teachers to play an important role in making sure that the children grow up into being healthy adults. Parents and teachers should set an example to the children by eating right themselves and by being physically fit.
* Paying attention to children's health, especially in elite schools that have canteens / cafeterias serving rich, high-calorie foods to the already well-fed children. The school needs to understand that food is a fuel for health and fitness rather than an item for comfort, or boredom reliever or to keep the taste buds happy. It is important to teach the children the value of good nutrition.
* Helping children to pay attention to the natural hunger pangs rather than telling them to ‘clean up the plate'.
* Not promising desserts or chocolates as rewards as this leads to unnecessary overload of calories; instead focusing on non-food rewards like a book or a game.
* Stocking the kitchen with healthy foods that give children healthy choices.
When people eat healthful foods and stay physically active, their bodies find their way to a healthy size and shape in a pleasurable and sustainable way.