A great concern, child obesity is an issue for many parents, an issue with both health and social consequences that can continue into adulthood.
Parents of overweight children are right to be concerned about child obesity, and will have many questions about how and why it occurs, and what can be done about it.
Causes of child obesity include:
- Physical Activity - specifically lack of regular exercise.
- Sedentary behavior - Activities that can contribute include extensive television viewing, playing PC and video games, and similar behaviors
- Socioeconomic Status - There is a much higher incidence among low family incomes and non-working parents.
- Eating Habits - Clearly a key issue with over-consumption of high-calorie foods the major culprit. Behavior patterns that can contribute include eating while watching TV or eating when not hungry.
- Environment - Over-exposure to high-calorie food advertising, and also living in an environment that lacks recreational facilities.
- Genetics - Kids with overweight parents are much more prone to weight problems
While causes are clear, the answers are not always as simple. Issues arise such as, are kids too concerned about their weight? What are the best strategies for prevention? What treatments work over a long time?
Prevention centres around issues such as creating a healthy eating environment, creating a physically active environment, and modeling good behavior for kids to follow. These are essential both in the home and also in school. If parents suspect that their kids have serious health, psychological or social problems as a result of weight gain, they should of course consult their doctor.