Obesity is on the rise around the world, as are the problems that come with it, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and several types of cancer. Increased intake of energy-dense foods high in fat and sugar, as well as a decrease in physical activity, are being cited as the key causes of the obesity pandemic since our lifestyle has changed rapidly in recent years. According to the WHO, childhood obesity has increased rapidly among children and adolescents aged 5 to 19, from 4% in 1975 to over 18% in 2016.
Aside from the numerous physical health hazards that obesity poses, its influence on mental health is just as serious and can have a long-term negative impact on a child’s personality.
Obesity and its psychosocial consequences are rarely discussed. Discrimination and stigmatisation are common for obese children. “Breach Candy Hospital’s Consultant Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Borude, adds that this leads to low self-esteem, social anxiety, and mood disorders, all of which encourage individuals to overeat, perpetuating the obesity and mental health cycle.”
Children with developmental difficulties are more likely than others to accumulate unhealthy weight.Adolescents with developmental disabilities are prone to unhealthy weight gain as a result of poor lifestyle choices. “Dr. Borude agrees,” according to researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Instead of focusing on weight, have a conversation about overall wellness.
Obesity discussions with your child can be challenging, and if not handled properly, can have a negative impact on their mental health.
The goal is to keep the conversations light-hearted. The standard of well-being should be health rather than a score on a scale. Family discussions should always take place. When it comes to dealing with comparable situations, a parent who sets a good example is invaluable. ” According to the expert,
Set an example for others.
Parents of obese children should understand that the child has either inherited obesity as a sickness or has acquired an unhealthy environment from his surroundings, particularly his family, and thus condemning the child is unjust. While inherited characteristics cannot be changed, creating a good and healthy environment can help to combat obesity.
At home and in school tiffins, make sure to eat healthy and nutritious foods. When ordering in or eating out, only choose healthy options. Exercise regularly and avoid buying or stockpiling unhealthy snacks such as sweets and chips. Plan outside physical activities with your child, such as hiking or trekking, and celebrate each of his or her accomplishments, no matter how minor they may appear. Avoid phrases such as “why can’t you exercise?” or “if you eat less, you can lose weight,” and so on. “Dr. Ramen Goel,” a consultant bariatric surgeon at Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central, agrees.
“Parents are role models for their children, and the greatest approach to helping a child lose weight is to set an example for them,” says Dr. Goel. Most children will improve even without a word spoken.