Childhood overweight and obesity are a very important problem in our society. Obesity and being overweight cause diseases that could be prevented by a healthy life and a physically active life. Therefore diseases caused by obesity or being overweight are totally preventable. In this sense, it is essential for society to think that if there are many chubby children it is because there is a serious problem in eating.
In this sense, there must be a priority social awareness to be able to put the necessary measures and that between all of us this problem is put to an end. Prevention is the most viable option to curb the childhood obesity epidemic. Current treatment practices for people suffering from this problem are primarily aimed at controlling it rather than finding a cure. Prevention is the best way to avoid premature deaths caused by being overweight due to obesity.
FIGHTING THE CHILDHOOD OBESITY EPIDEMIC
All of society should have the same goal: to achieve an energy balance between the calories that are consumed with those that are expended. It must be a habit learned by all people of all ages that will have to be maintained throughout the life of the individual.
Some general recommendations to keep in mind are:
-Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes, nuts or whole grains.
-Limit the consumption of unhealthy fats
-Limit the intake of sugars of all kinds
-Do sports every day, a minimum of 60 minutes of regular activity in children and adolescents, with a moderate to vigorous intensity.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT AT THE SOCIAL LEVEL
It is everyone’s duty that we do our part to stop this epidemic of childhood obesity. It requires sustained political commitment and collaboration from everyone in society. Governments, international partners, civil society, NGOs and the private sector play a vital role in shaping healthy environments and creating healthier diet options for children and adolescents at affordable and easily accessible prices.
OBESITY, HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Overweight and obesity are defined as the abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat in the body that is detrimental to health. This is assessed through the body mass index (BMI) which is a simple calculation of weight for height to classify whether the adult or child is overweight or obese. To calculate it, the weight of a person in kilograms is taken into account and divided by the square of his height in meters.
OBESITY AND OVERWEIGHT IN ADULTS
For adults, the WHO defines overweight and obesity as follows: A person will be overweight when they have a BMI greater than or equal to 25 and will be obese if their BMI is within a value greater than or equal to 30.
When calculating a person’s BMI, their personal characteristics must also be taken into account.
Children under 5 years
To calculate whether a child under 5 years of age is overweight or obese, the percentile table and the exact age of the child must be taken into account. Overweight will be taken into account if there is a deviation 2 times higher than the standard according to the child growth standards according to the WHO. Obesity will be had if the deviation is 3 standard deviations above the mean.
Children between 5 and 19 years old
In children, adolescents and young people between the ages of 5 and 19, overweight will be taken into account if there is 1 standard deviation above the mean in the percentiles and obesity is greater than 2 standard deviations above the mean.
IN ADDITION TO A HEALTHY DIET, EXERCISE IS VITAL
Children between the ages of 5 and 17 should have a daily activity of at least 1 hour. It is essential for their development and to avoid the sedentary life to which they are accustomed. In this sense, it is necessary for parents to become aware that within this hour of sport, they can take into account: games, sports, walking, housework, planned exercises, social activities, etc.
Most physical activity in children and adolescents should be aerobic and incorporate vigorous intensity activities including those that strengthen muscles and bones, and do it at least 3 times a week. All this should be taken into account unless some medical condition does not allow exercise for whatever reason and then it will be the doctor who must assess the type of exercise that the child or adolescent should do taking into account their age and abilities.
It does not have to be 60 minutes in a row, it can be cumulative time throughout the day. These recommendations are for all children in our society.
BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Exercise has great benefits that should be taken into account and that in this way children and adolescents are encouraged to exercise every day:
-Power a good musculoskeletal development
-Develop a healthier cardiovascular system
-It has a better neuromuscular awareness
Physical activity has also been associated with psychological benefits in children and adolescents by improving control over symptoms of anxiety and depression. Similarly, participation in physical activity can help young people’s social development by providing opportunities for self-expression, self-confidence building, social interaction, and integration. In addition, physically active children and adolescents will engage in healthy behaviors (for example, avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drug use) and develop higher academic performance in school .
Once all this is taken into account, it is necessary to put into practice the solutions both privately and socially. People’s health depends on ourselves, we must be aware of which foods are healthy and which we must leave aside, no matter how delicious they seem. Likewise, sport should be part of the daily life of each person.