Childhood obesity is a scourge of the modern world. At no point in history were there so many children dramatically overweight. Worse still, because obesity is becoming the norm, fewer parents are aware of just how large their children are. Overweight kids no longer look out of place in our society.
Obesity doesn’t just make doing exercise tough for children with the condition: it also sets them up for a host of health problems in the future. Obese children, for instance, are much more likely to suffer from heart disease prematurely, thanks to the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. Likewise, they are much more likely to develop type two diabetes – a dangerous condition that results when fat-engorged cells no longer respond to the action of insulin.
The good news, however, is that there are ways of tackling the problem. It will, however, require the help of parents and caregivers.
At the moment, the recommendations of public health officials involve a series of simple, easy-to-apply lifestyles changes that can make an enormous difference. Those who look after children should encourage the drinking of still water, avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, limit portion sizes at mealtimes, and prepare healthy snacks between meals. Healthy foods include fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans.
Schools also have a role to play. Educational institutions need to include nutrition and physical activity as part of the community.
The following infographic describes the childhood obesity problem and offers a range of solutions to the issue at the parental, school, and societal levels. When it comes to childhood obesity, we all have a role to play.