Prevention is the best cure for childhood obesity. Obesity can be control through many strategic interventions which include creating the right environment, imbibing physical exercise, and diet. Most of these strategies can be started at home while some can happen at school as children spend much time at school. After-school care services can play a significant role in influencing the diet and physical activity for children at an early age. The faster the plan is initiated, the better for today’s generation.
Although the exact factors supporting childhood obesity are not entirely understood, it is a proven fact that obesity may occur when the energy intake exceeds the energy spent by children. Genetic factors also play a role in childhood obesity, but it is not the only factor to looked when trying to determine what causes obesity in children. Different outside factors like environmental factors, lifestyle preferences, and cultural conditions are also reasons for the rise in childhood obesity. The following are being considered as factors as well:
Behavioral and social factors
- Diet: improper regulation of Calorie intake can be a factor as children consume foods of high calories but do not spend it in activities.
- Fat Intake: Studies show that the fat intake has decreased in some parts while increased in some areas of the country. However, children have a robust system that burns fat efficiently. Hence it cannot be an isolating factor.
- Other dietary factors: Soft drink intake by children has increased during the past decades and has been a significant cause of the of obesity and type II diabetes. However, no conclusive studies have been published as of now.
- Physical Activity: Numerous studies have shown that nonphysical activities like watching TV and playing video games have contributed much to an obese population. Parents often encouraged their children to watch television and spend more time inside the home so that they can complete their work and babysit at the same time. Many children have recorded low participation rates in sports and physical education which has added to their chances to become obese.
Having a neighborhood that has a big and safe place to play sports as well as a school which encourages physical activities as a part of school work is the first step to getting children out in the open. A home where physical activity is considered necessary, and the right diet is encouraged will decrease the chances of a child becoming obese drastically. Less time in front of the television and family dinners at the table instead of the TV will be helpful as advertisers are targeting this age group influencing their eating habits to a great extent.
Obesity is a disorder that has multiple causes including depression and the physical and mental health of obese children. Cardio and digestive diseases in adulthood are common in obese children. Over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity is believed to be the main factors in the occurrence of childhood obesity.