• Dr Tarundeep Kaur

Preschool (2 to 6-year-old) obese children are 1.4 times more prone to become obese adults.

A high increase in annual BMI (a measure of body fat, measured as weight divided by height) rising in preschool years is associated with a risk of adolescent overweight that is 1.4 times higher than the risk among children with a stable BMI. Children who are obese between the age of 2 to 6 years are prone to rapid weight gain during adolescence and remain obese in adulthood. The early onset of obesity is associated with the development of related complications, including metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, even in childhood, and may lead to an increased risk of death in adulthood. Obese children are also prone to develop stress, sadness, and low self-esteem.

Children become overweight for many reasons. Genetic factors, lack of physical activity and poor eating habits are the most common causes. Only in rare cases, obesity is caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem. A physical examination and a few blood tests can rule out the possibility of a medical condition as the cause of obesity.

The best person to decide whether or not your child is overweight is your child's doctor. In determining whether or not your child is overweight, the doctor will measure your child's weight and height and compute his body mass index and will also consider your child's age and growth pattern. Identifying the age at which obesity develops and determination of whether there are specific critical periods in childhood and adolescence that are characterized by accelerated and sustained weight gain is important and may help in the development of effective preventive strategies. By involving the whole family, everyone should be taught healthy habits and the overweight child does not feel singled out.

A few ways to accomplish this include:

1. Promote healthy eating habits

Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.

Drink low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.

Prefer lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.

Serve reasonably-sized portions.

Encourage your family to increase the intake of water

Limit sweetened beverages.

2. Engage kids in brisk walking, playing jump rope, soccer, swimming, dancing.

3. Reduce sedentary lifestyle like limiting your children to watch television, play video games, or web surfing to no more than 2 hours a day.

Authored by:

Dr. Tarundeep Kaur

4 October 2019

Dr. Tarundeep's experience in the medical field extends from practicing as a general physician for almost 10 years to more recently working as clinical lead in one of the top e-pharmacies in India. She strongly believes in merging medicine with the latest technology to provide convenient, accessible and cost-effective patient care.

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