Obesity is a chronic disease that affects an increasing number of children, adolescents, and adults. Childhood obesity rates in the United States have doubled since 1980 and tripled for adolescents. About 19.7% of children aged 2 to 19 are considered obese, compared to over 41% of obese adults.
Early type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity-related depression, and social isolation in children and adolescents are often seen by health professionals. The more obese a person becomes, the higher the risk factors associated with obesity. Because of the chronic diseases related to obesity and the difficulty in treating obesity, prevention is very important.
The main reason why preventing obesity in children is so vital is that the likelihood of childhood obesity continuing into adulthood increases with age. This puts a person at risk for diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Children and adolescents may be overweight or obese due to poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity. Genetic factors and lifestyle also contribute to the child’s weight status.
Recommendations for the prevention of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents include:
- Gradually change family eating habits and activity levels instead of focusing on the child’s weight.
- Set a good example. Parents who eat healthy food and exercise are role models for their children, so the child is likely to do the same.
- Encourage physical activity. Children should do 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. More than 60 minutes of activity a day can promote weight loss and help you maintain your weight.
- Reduce time spent in front of phones, computers, and TV to less than one to two hours per day.
- Encourage children and adolescents to eat only when they are hungry and slowly.
- Food should not be used as a reward or as a deterrent.
- Keep the refrigerator full of fat-free or low-fat milk and fresh fruits and vegetables instead of soft drinks and snacks high in sugar and fat.
- Serve at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Encourage children and teens to drink water instead of beverages containing added sugar, such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juice drinks.
- Eat with your family. Family meals can create healthy eating habits.
Does breastfeeding prevent obesity?
The answer is complicated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC, breastfeeding babies are less likely to gain weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reported that the more children are breastfed (and not just bottle-fed breast milk), the less likely they are to be overweight as they age. However, many children who feed on artificial milk become healthy adults.
Other research has questioned the link between breastfeeding and obesity. Parents who can afford to stay with their children and breastfeed for three months or more are more likely to live in high-income households and have greater access to healthy food. health care and exercise opportunities for their children. These benefits may explain the low rate of obesity in these children.
Preventing obesity in adults
Many strategies that lead to successful weight loss and maintenance help prevent obesity. Improving eating habits and increasing physical activity play a key role in preventing obesity. Recommendations for adults include:
- Keep a food diary for what you eat, where you are, and how you feel before and after eating.
- Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The vegetable ratio is 1 cup raw vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, or vegetable juice. The fruit portion consists of a piece of small to medium-sized fresh fruit, half a cup of canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, or a quarter cup of dried fruit.
- Choose whole foods such as brown rice and whole wheat bread. Do not eat processed foods containing refined white sugar, flour, high fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat.
- Weigh and measure food to see the right portion sizes. For example, a 3-ounce serving of meat is the size of the playing card set. Do not order large menu items.
- Learn to read and use nutrition labels; consider how many quotas you actually take.
- Balance "checkbook" foods If you eat more calories than you burn, your weight will increase. Weigh yourself every week.
- Do not eat foods that are rich in "energy intensity" or contain many calories in a small amount of food. For example, an average cheeseburger with a French fry order can contain up to 1000 calories and 30 grams or more of fat. By ordering a roast chicken sandwich or plain burger and a small salad with a low-fat sauce, you can avoid hundreds of calories and get rid of a lot of
- Reducing the size of meals and using a smaller dish can help you lose weight.
- Target an average of 60 to 90 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity for three to four days each week. Examples of moderate-intensity exercises include walking for 15 minutes or weeding and comforting in the garden. Running or playing individual tennis are examples of the most intense activities.
- Find ways to even get 10 or 15 minutes of some kind of activity during the day. Walking around the building or going up and down several steps is a good start.