Even though such factors as genetics and hormonal problems can influence childhood obesity, the number one reason is the unlimited calories intake. Children are just eating too much with little or no exercise to compensate it. Why does it happen? There are a number of reasons that explain childhood obesity. Some of the most widespread are:
• Unhealthy food, such as fast food, junk food, additives and soda;
• Domination of technology, which leads to a sedentary lifestyle;
• Bad example that parents put before the child
• Advertising of the unhealthy products and lifestyle;
• Children may use overeating as a psychological defense mechanism.
Fast food and soda are extremely cheap, tremendously addictive, and exceedingly unhealthy. Parents often include these types of foods into their family menus because of budget constraints, the lack of free time and wrong representations of the healthy diet. Children have no idea how to make healthy food choices; that’s why they simply follow the order that they see around and reach for sweets and fast food every time they have an opportunity. The size of the portion also matters. Both parents and children find it difficult to understand that a sedentary lifestyle has to be compensated with exercising or reduction of a portion size.
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While physical activity was once an essential part of child’s daily life, in some families the situation has changed greatly with the appearance of modern gadgets. Parents should motivate their children to spend less time gazing into their tablets and notebooks and to lead an active lifestyle. Of course, having safe and easy access to a place where children can have fun and be active plays a huge role in staying fit and preventing childhood obesity. Convenience often outplays physical activity. That’s why if there are no places nearby that children can use to be active, parents should at least use weekends to give their children some space for sports.
Another factor that influences childhood obesity is advertising of the unhealthy products and lifestyle. Children spend a lot of time in front of TVs and notebooks. This is dangerous, because fast-food chains target children in their ads frequently. Another thing is that children are often eating in front of TV, which shifts their focus from food. It can lead to excessive or unhealthy snacking.
Children may also use food as a way to cope with their negative emotions and feelings. As with the adults, the lack of sleep may also affect the appetite of the child, because exhaustion usually alters the levels of hormones, which influence the appetite.
Of course, genetics and medical conditions should also be considered when investigating childhood obesity, thought they are not the key factors determining it.
Childhood obesity is an actual problem, which is very far from being solved. In fact, this problem is growing and requires urgent and efficient counter-measures because obese children turn into obese adults and pass on the negative examples to their children. This vicious cycle has to be broken unless we want to live in the obese and unhealthy world.