Article

OBESITY IN CHILDREN: THE ROLE OF PARENTS

Obesity in kids is a condition in which children are so fat that it is dangerous to their health. Such kids are said to be obese or overweight. In the past, obesity used to be an adult problem but today, many children are fast becoming obese. One out of every five children in some countries are overweight.

The most common causes of obesity in kids are genetic factors, lack of regular exercise and unhealthy eating habits. Many kids nowadays don’t do enough exercise rather, they spend a lot of time being physically inactive – watching television, playing video games, using computers, texting their friends or chatting online among other “irrelevant” things.

So sad, these obese children may have a number of health problems including shortness of breath, high blood pressure, diabetes, bone and joint problems, heat rash or acne. Some suffer from stress and sadness, as well as having low self esteem as a result of being teased, bullied or rejected by their peers in school or the street.

However, obesity in children is not one of those health issues whose cures are still being searched for but it’s one whose cure is right there in the hands of every human.

By and large, the role of parents in helping reduce the rate of obesity amongst children cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that parents who engage in healthier eating and activity habits are more likely to have children who mimic these behaviours as they grow into adulthood. Thus, in order to get children to develop healthier eating and activity behaviours, parents must first engage in these behaviours themselves.

Other means by which parents could help reduce obesity in children are stated below:

1. Parents should try as much as possible to ensure that their kids engage in physical exercise as often as possible.

2. Teach them to eat good food and dissuade them from eating or drinking too much sugary food and drinks which have little or no nutrients.

3. They should also reduce or completely remove all sweets and favourite snacks from their kids diets.

4. There should be a cut down on the level at which these children watch television, operate the computers and play video games. If possible, the TV set from their bedroom should be removed to help reduce screen time.

5. Parents should endeavour to place objects that encourage children to be physically active (like a jump rope or running shoes) in plain sight to serve as a reminder that there are other options for entertainment than the computer or TV.

ADELEKAN Abosede Kafilat
Department of English and literary studies (TASUED)

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