Overweight in childhood can lead to various health disorders in kids as they grow older, such as childhood obesity. With the modernization of society, children have been greatly affected by its ill effects and improper lifestyle. A survey says that almost 15% of children are overweight irrespective of their parental weight and sex. Treatment should be started immediately if a kid is becoming obese at an early age.
The treatment of obesity in children is done through three steps:
- Changing the child’s diet or food habits
- Encouraging the child to exercise
- Simple medication
Weight loss surgeries are also considered an option, but surgeries like these at such a young age should not be the only solution. Parents, teachers, and doctors should advise and encourage the child to take the aforementioned three steps very seriously. Still, if the kid is not able to reduce his or her weight, then parents may consider surgery.
Treatment for Overweight Children
Change in Food Habits
A diet can remove excess fat in kids between the ages of 6 and 10. This process will work very slowly, but it ensures proper weight loss. Kids need to eat food (nutrition-rich foods) at regular intervals in small quantities. Some tips for parents to remember while purchasing foods and serving their children:
- Avoid buying and serving sugary foods such as chocolates, ice cream, cake, cookies, etc. Sugary foods are high in fat and calories.
- Do not buy processed or preserved foods from retail stores.
- Minimize fast foods in the diet. Fast foods and junk foods will never help your kid to reduce his or her weight.
- Allow your kid to eat the proper amount of food. Overeating or undereating can both adversely affect your child’s health.
- Eat your meals with your kid so that it becomes a habit for him or her. Discourage your kid from watching TV or playing games while eating.
- Buy larger amounts of fruits and green vegetables and make a balanced diet.
- Ask your kid to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water on a daily basis.
Physical Activities and Games
Emphasize outdoor games and activities rather than indoor games. The calories need to be burned, so a good amount of physical exercise is required. Enroll your kid in football, swimming, or tennis classes, and take him or her for a morning walk or jogging every day. The diet will not work effectively until and unless physical exercises are paired with it. Cycling or skating can also be good options.
Medication for a Limited Period
You can take your kid to doctors to prescribe some weight loss drugs. These drugs, although they don’t have many side effects, should be avoided in larger quantities. You should stress good food habits and exercise more than weight-reducing medicines.
Fat removal surgeries are very popular nowadays and your kid can also try it. However, make sure your kid can withstand such surgeries without facing any complications. Weight loss surgeries have some side effects in the long term, so it’s better not to rely only on this process for weight loss.
Since 2001, Dr. Alexander G. Salerno has led Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues.