Role of Lifestyle in Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is on the rise and it’s no surprise. With a number of contributing factors, kids between the ages of 6 and 19 are becoming more prone to childhood obesity. There are many different childhood obesity factors that contribute to the worsening of this condition. Most of these factors are related to changes in our society and in people’s lifestyles. In addition, parents have been negligent in their responsibilities as far as understanding the risk factors and possible causes of this widely prevalent epidemic called obesity.

Among all factors, lifestyle plays a major role in the overall health of children and in contributing to this epidemic. An unhealthy lifestyle can be an immediate cause of children suffering from obesity. When we talk of lifestyle, it mostly comprises diet habits, exercise, and physical activities.

Lack of Exercise
Nowadays, many kids prefer indoor games and indoor activities instead of venturing out regularly. Lack of physical exercise is an important factor that is one of the causes of childhood obesity. Nowadays, kids are increasingly addicted to video games, computer games, and play stations. It has been observed that these children have a greater risk of childhood obesity compared to kids who go outside to play or engage in sports. Advances in modern technology have contributed to this childhood obesity. With advances in technology, the lifestyle of kids has changed. For instance, instead of going out for outdoor soccer or basketball, they love to play these games technologically indoors. Diet also has a connection with lack of physical activities. Children eat fast food while playing video games or watching television.

In the past, kids loved to play sports and enjoy outside activities. They loved outdoor entertainment and walking to school. Nowadays, instead of going out to play, children prefer to do more of watching television, surfing the Internet, playing computer games, and chatting online. These activities let children exercise only their minds and their hands. Combined with poor choices of food, lack of exercise is contributing to obesity in a significant manner. The fat that they are accumulating by eating high-calorie food and junk and convenience items is not burned by staying indoors and playing computer games. In addition, with the rising pressure of school homework and studying, children now hardly have time to exercise outside. They are confined to interior spaces where their only job is to eat, sleep, study, and play.

Diet Problem
Coupled with the above problem, the way food is cooked in modern times is completely different from what our ancestors did. In earlier days, food was cooked from scratch. However, now preparation of food is simpler and faster. The dominance of fast-food joints in our diet is another factor responsible for obesity among children.

Instead of including plenty of fruits and veggies in meals, children mostly choose sugary items, fried food, junk food, and other convenient stuff. Parents are also responsible for this as they encourage their kids to go to fast-food joints. Instead of pizzas and burgers, parents can easily pack bananas, carrots, apples, and salads in their lunch boxes.

Bad Habits
Lifestyle also includes bad eating habits. Children nowadays eat food that is low in nutrition and high in fat, including aerated drinks, rich desserts, and fast foods. In addition, they overeat to deal with emotional problems and while watching TV. Hence, they consume a lot of empty calories.

These lifestyle problems lead to childhood obesity.

 


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.