- junio 20th, 2013 |
- Overweight children are at greater risk from developmental difficulties and bone and heart disease.
- To prevent obesity, children must learn to eat healthily from a very early age. Arnidol® explains about healthy eating habits.
In Spain, 1 in 4 children is overweight and 1 in 5 is obese, according to a 2012 study by the Thao Foundation. These figures put Spain amongst the countries with the highest childhood obesity rates in the European Union, only behind Italy and Cyprus. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers it to be the most serious public health challenge of the 21st century and a global problem.
The fight against childhood obesity is fought from within public administrations, with laws that foster a healthy diet, and in education, with educational plans that promote a healthy lifestyle, but, above all, in the home, as that is where children learn to eat and where habits and routines are learnt.
What are the consequences of childhood obesity?
According to doctors attending the 2nd Latin American Congress on the Nutrition of Children and Teens, held inGranada in December 2012, in the short term overweight children suffer more from pain in the muscles, joints and bones and are four times as likely to suffer bone fractures and dislocations than normal-weight children.
Overweight children are more likely to be obese in adulthood and to develop diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and dementia.
What can you do to prevent your child from becoming overweight or obese?
There are genetic factors involved in obesity; however, the major causes are an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle. What you can do:
- Put together balanced menus. According to experts, a balanced diet should consist of the following:
- Fruit and vegetables should make up 50% of your diet; therefore, include at least 2 servings of vegetables and 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day.
- A quarter of the food we eat should consist of cereals, legumes, potatoes or rice.
- Children should eat at least 4 servings of fish a week and a maximum 6 servings of meat.
- Keep pastries to a minimum. Homemade sandwiches are best for breakfast and afternoon snacks.
- Limit soft drinks, chips and crisps, ready meals, etc. Keep them for special occasions.
- Watch portion sizes. People often believe that more children eat, the more they grow. Nothing could be further from the truth. Give your child moderate-sized servings which leave her pleasantly full. It is better to eat five smaller meals thanthree huge ones.
- Encourage her to be active. Studies relate childhood obesity to more time spent watching TV and other sedentary pastimes (videogames, etc.). It is important that children not only do sports, but also that at home you are active as a family. So make walks in the country or the city part of your family time.
- Teach your child to eat well. Nutritionists say that obesity can be prevented by acquiring healthy habits during childhood. Arnidol® gives tips in the article: Teach your child to eat well from an early age.