“No one can change the eating habits for a child unless there are changes in the eating habits of the family as a whole” said Dr. Mohammed Abu Alghaid.
Currently obesity is considered as a major health problem in our time, as experts point out that there is an epidemic of obesity worldwide, and the number of children who are obese at an increasingly alarming rate in developed and developing countries alike. Obesity is defined as an increase in the total percentage of total fat in the body compared to other tissues, leading to an increase in body weight so that reflects negatively on the child’s life also in his future if he does not treat this issue quickly; therefore all parents should know the danger of this bad phenomenon.
According to statistics one out of every 10 children are over weight naturally, equivalent to 155 million children, including the 30-45 million whom are classified as obese. Australian biologists at the University of Adelaide have records showing that females have a higher risk than males in becoming obese, but then this also comes down to genetics.
The United States of America has the worst obesity and weight gain rate in the world. Statistics indicate that 17.1% of children and adolescents between 2 and 19 years of age are overweight. In most other countries, studies indicate that there is an increase in the weight of children with obesity and contrast rate between the age and sex. In Yemen the average rate for obesity in children are between the ages of 1 to 5 years.
Dietitian Jumana Abuqwider states the causes of obesity especially in childhood summarized in the consumption of the amount of calories and calorie dense food, which is low in nutrient and high in fats and carbohydrates, leading to obesity. She added that unhealthy eating pattern and fast food especially for children under the age of ten such as; chips, pizza, sugared drinks… etc are rich in fat and high in calories can raise weight at an alarming rate. Most of these foods are low in nutrient and eating huge amounts of sweets and foods high in sodium can raise your weight. Physical activity is a huge point, it can regulate their food intake and avoiding fast food and consuming more fiber, fruits and vegetables can be a huge advantage in staying healthy and avoiding obesity.
The genes of the parents can also affect their children in whether or not they will be obese. If the parents are in the normal weight range than the percentage in which the child may be obese is 20%, either of the parents are obese than the percentage is 40%, but if both parents are obese than the percentage of having an offspring with obesity is 80%.
According to Dr. Tina “the mother can have an effect on her children in becoming overweight by consuming drugs in her first trimester without knowing that she is pregnant, also by eating a lot of sweets and foods that are full of sugars during her pregnancy or if she suffers from diabetes.
In our modern day society kids are now spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. Today’s busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals and from fast food to electronics, quick and easy is the reality for today’s modern family.
To overcome the problems of nutrition and obesity there should be extensive efforts in the community in changing dietary habits, sports and increasing daily movement. The school and the home and society must share responsibility for promoting and organizing opportunities for nutrition education and increasing physical activity and sports for all children in general. We must strengthen education programs in primary schools in order to ensure healthy options for students. The vending machines distributing drinks and snacks in schools should not provide soft drinks and snacks with high calories for children.. As adults we may need quite some time to get the ideal weight of the body when the ratio of the length of obese children should be the initial goal, which is to lose weight gradually. This goes out to all age groups in making permanent changes to their lifestyle, sport and health education.