Obesity In Children
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Obesity
Weight Gain Due To Depression
• Safiye TAŞ, RD
• Gamze GÜLTEKİN, RD
OBESITY IN CHILDREN
Has the prevalence of obesity in children increased?
A very rapid increase even the boom has been observed in the number of fat children recently. For this reason, type 2 diabetes seen in adults is observed in the childhood and adolescence. It is observed that frequency of obesity in children has increased 5 times in France in the last 10 years and 2 times in the USA since 1976 and also obesity in childhood is increasing fast in Turkey.
What is the factor causing obesity in children?
In addition to genetic factors, changes of environmental factors cause the obesity in children. Passive life style, widespread television and computer use, increase of fast-food nutrition with high content of carbohydrate and fatty food, advertisement of candy, chocolate and convenience food result in increase of obesity in children. Overweight was found out in 52% of children watching TV for more than two hours a day and obesity was determined in 28% of them.
What should we do to prevent gaining weight of children?
Infants should be fed by breast-milk. Obesity is observed less in the rate of 15-25% in children fed by breast-milk in the infancy.
Parents should learn healthy nutrition and apply it at home and accordingly children learn the healthy nutrition. Family should reduce fat and carbohydrate quantity in daily diet. The family shouldn’t make the children diet very strictly. Not eating junk food, eating when he is hungry and slowly should be taught to the children. Child should eat with family and have breakfast. Children should be taught to drink plenty of water. TV shouldn’t be available at the child’s room or in the room they sleep.
Food with high calorie like candy, chocolate shouldn’t be presented to the child as the award. Similarly, it is not correct to stop or prohibit food intake as a penalty.
Play and gymnastic fields should be available for children at schools. Healthy food should be offered at school canteen. The habit of eating fruit instead of cake and biscuit should be adopted by children and high calorie and fast food products shouldn’t be sold at canteens and water or mineral water should be sold instead of fizzy drink and coke. At schools serving lunch, healthy food not causing weight should be served. By means of school studies in the United Kingdom and Singapore, successful results were achieved for struggle with obesity.
Is the risk that the obese children may be obese when they are adult in question?
50% of children being obese in the ages of 3-10 constitute the risk of being obese in the period of adult. Excessive weight is observed in 70-80% of obese children during the puberty age in the advanced ages. For this reason, struggle with overweight is necessary since the childhood.
Is there any difference between the obesity of children and adults?
Yes, there are certain differences between both periods. When the children gain weight, number of fat cells increases, the number of fat cells of adults doesn’t increase but every fat cell grows.
How is obesity in children treated?
Whether there is hormonal or genetic disorder or not should be examined in children for the treatment of obesity like adults. Insulin resistance or hypothyroidism are the first things coming to the mind. Insulin resistance shows that the possibility of diabetes mellitus in the future is high for the children. TSH and free T4 measurements should be carried out for thyroid hormones.
Chilren and parents more are responsible during the process of treatment. Activities of the child should be increased, he/she should eat low fat and energy level food and eating habit should be changed and family members should learn healthy nutrition. Other than this, the child shouldn’t be allowed to watch TV too much.
It was determined that more than 25% of daily calorie intake in obese children arises from snacks outside of meal times. For this reason, snacking should be prevented in children.
Early puberty is a frequent case in obese children. Delay in walking, being on in terms of bone age compared to peers, heat rash and skin inflammations are observed in these children frequently. Stretch may occur in the abdomen due to fat tissue increase. Excessive growing of breast can be observed in boys.
What is the diet principle to prevent obesity in children?
Breast-feeding till the age of 1 is very significant for infants. Starting nutritional supplements earlier, adding honey to milk, excessive milk pudding results in weight increase in child. Water should be added to ready infant Formula and biscuit shouldn’t be added. Feeding with spoon instead of baby bottle should be preferred.
Style of nutrition of the family for the ages of 1-6 is very significant for gaining weight. The family should be informed about healthy nutrition. Candy and chocolate shouldn’t be presented to the child as the prize. Children should have a breakfast in the morning, shouldn’t miss meal and should be active.
Children prefer carbohydrate food like pasta and rice in the age of 6-18 and don’t like vegetable much. For this reason, the family shouldn’t miss mean in a balanced diet, should insist on a diet rich of fruit and vegetable and cereals. Whole meal bread should be consumed instead of light bread and whole-wheat pasta should be consumed. Encouraging children to do exercise is as significant as the diet.
How should the students eat to prevent gaining weight in exam periods requiring hard working?
The students feel tired, weak, sleepless and excessive stress in exam period and especially while preparing for the university exam. For this reason, students not eating regularly and healthily and consuming junk-food gain weight. It also reduces the chance of success.
It will be beneficial to increase Omega-3 intake to strengthen the memory and consume fish 3 times a week, increase consumption of vegetable and fruit, to eat walnut, almond or nut and not to forget egg at breakfast. Moreover, skimmed milk and buttermilk should be consumed as calcium support.
Students preparing for examination should be examined in terms of anemia, mineral deficiency such as calcium and magnesium. Unwillingness, not being able to concentrate are frequently seen in iron deficiency students. If such a deficiency is in question, drugs recommended by the physician and nutrition support may be necessary.
Regular breakfast is also important. Most of students go to school without having breakfast. Having breakfast increases success. Consuming excessive coffee and tea or coke habit damage the memory. Instead of it, abundant of water or fresh fruit juice should be consumed. Going for a walk for half an hour every day increases the success of exam.