Did you know that it is normal or all children to gain weight as they grow? Extra occasional pounds are needed to support growth and development. How do parents know when weight gain is normal and when they should be concerned about a child's weight gain? When should a child lose weight?
Childhood obesity is a growing problem in America and in Europe. When a child is well above normal weight for height the child may be obese and facing serious health problems.
Children can face the same health problems that obese adults face such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension (high blood pressure). Parents can fight back by making sure their kids eat a diet that is healthy and that they are physically active everyday. Your child's pediatrician can give you guidelines for physical exercise and can refer you to a registered dietician or nutritionist that can help you design a healthy diet for your child's age.
If your child is overweight and in need of weight loss help you may wonder what caused your child to have this problem. There are many causes for excess weight gain including genetic and hormonal causes; eating too much and not getting enough exercise are also causes for childhood weight gain. Eating and exercise habits are by far the more common causes for childhood weight problems but a small proportion of children may have certain diseases that contribute to the problems such as Cushing's syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome.
Is your child at risk for having a weight issue that requires him or her to be thinking about losing weight?
Risk factors for childhood obesity include a diet that consists of fast foods, baked goods, vending machine snacks and high-fat foods and processed foods. These foods are easily available and in the fast-paced world of today kids often reach for food that is tasty, quick and easy. Unfortunately foods that are packaged sold in vending machines or at fast-food restaurants often contain a high calorie count to go along with that convenience and good taste.
Other risk factors include inactivity, genetics, psychological factors and family factors. Kids who have overweight family members may be genetically predisposed to put on excess weight as they grow, especially if family factors are unhealthy such as how the family eats. Family factors would be those that result from family routines like eating in front of the TV, eating lots of salty, fatty or sweet foods, having a lot of take-out or fast-food meals because parents work and it's easier to pick-up a meal than to cook it. Psychological risk factors would be those that are connected to kids not being able to cope with emotional problems, stress or boredom and use food to compensate.
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