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Diet Strategies to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

All children need to gain weight as they grow older, but gaining extra pounds – more than what’s needed to support their growth and development can lead to childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that occurs when a child is at least 20% well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. The health risk of obesity in children tends to only increase with age and usually gets carried into adulthood. While the short term implications include the child suffering from depression, low self esteem and at times, even social isolation; the long term consequences anticipated are hormonal disturbances, increased risk to lifestyle disorders like hypertension and diabetes and premature ageing. In adults, the tool used to assess one’s weight status is the body mass index, or BMI. However, BMI alone is not an appropriate measure for children. A child’s BMI percentile chart has to be used alongside charts that take into account the child’s rate of growth, sex and age – and is best interpreted with the help of your physician or a qualified dietician. The Diet strategy to combat Childhood obesity- Childhood obesity needs a multi-disciplinary approach. – One of the best strategies to combat excess weight in the child is by improving the diet and exercise levels of the entire family and not only the child’s. – Another important aspect which must be kept in mind while working out a healthy regime for children is not to blindly restrict calories in a child’s diet, as this could adversely affect the child’s growth and development and also be psychologically stressful. Instead, it would be advisable if we could just focus on balanced diets, healthy eating habits, and active lifestyle patterns, with moderate caloric restriction(by cutting down on the unhealthy fat intake) without depriving them of nutrients. – Breakfast forms an integral...

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