Obesity: How & Why?

The creeping numbers of excess weight among children is due to over-eating and under-exercising. Childhood weight management issues are almost always a result of multiple interacting factors: diet, level of physical activity, living environment, emotions, genetics and the quality of sleep.

Unhealthy eating habits (i.e. consuming high calorie foods before sleeping), regular consumption of empty calorie foods (i.e. cookies, candy, soda, chips and vending machine snacks) may result in weight gain.

Physical activity
Computers, video games and television may discourage children from engaging in physical activities. As a result, they would burn fewer calories and become more prone to gaining weight. By preschool age, many kids already develop daily routines that neglect essential physical activities. In turn, these poor habits may become strongly entrenched and remain throughout adolescence and adulthood.

If a child is greeted by candy bars, soda and empty calorie snacks when she opens the refrigerator; then s/he is most likely to eat some of it. Keep your fridge stocked with nutritious foods and make sure you set a healthy example for your kids by improving your own choices and behaviours.

Some kids may turn to food as a coping mechanism for dealing with social problems, as well as with stress, anxiety and boredom.

Genetic factors may be strongly influential, yet they are not inevitable. Healthy eating habits and regular physical exercise may keep things under control.

Children from low-income backgrounds in developed countries are at increased risk for childhood obesity. Children from high-income backgrounds in developing or under-developed countries are also at increased risk for childhood obesity.

Medical conditions
Though rare, there are certain genetic diseases and hormonal disorders that can predispose a child to obesity.

Children who sleep less than they need are more likely to be overweight.