Wellness

Early symptoms of childhood obesity

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Childhood obesity

As the well-known adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Obesity in children has rapidly become one of the biggest dangers to the future generations. If one wants to work towards putting the brakes on this dangerous development the only way forward is to understand the symptoms and causes of it. There are a number of behavioral patterns, habits and other indications that are exhibited by children which can point to them becoming overweight.

Here are a few that you should be on the lookout for:

Familial
Childhood obesity has been found most prevalent in parents, one or both of which are overweight. The Prader-Willi Syndrome is a complex genetic condition, which may result in a child becoming obese, and this could also be hereditary. However, in families, parents pass on their bad habits on to their children thus resulting in an overweight child. Studies show that children with overweight or obese parents are 10 to 12 times more likely to be overweight or obese themselves. Thus, it becomes imperative for parents to strive to be healthier for the sake of their children. It is all about inculcating the right habits, habits that will ensure that one does not become obese or overweight.

Sleep Apnea
Poor sleeping patterns have been identified as being one of the biggest symptoms of obesity. Research indicates that over 60% of obese children are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. This conditions reduces the tone of the airway musculature, which causes pauses in the breathing of the child. These pauses can last for up to 10 to 15 seconds. This condition is characterised by snoring and frequent sleep disruption. Repetitive Obstructive Sleep Apnea is an independent risk factor that affects metabolic syndrome and several of its components, like dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular problems.

Difficulty With Sudden Physical Activity
Children are naturally energetic and highly active. Running up a flight of stairs or chasing each other through the house is something that should come naturally to them. However, if you find your child not being able to cope with these sudden physical activities, or faces shortness of breath, or gets tired too easily, there something may be ailing them. Different children carry different amount of body weight about them as they grow. It may not be apparent if they are overweight by simply looking at them. It is ideal that in such a situation you seek out medical help and find out if your child is suffering from weight issues.

Appearance
The most telltale markers of obesity are stretch marks on hips and abdomen. It can cause the formation of dark velvety skin called acanthosis nigricans around the neck and other areas. It can also be a problem when there is a deposit of fatty tissue around the breast area. These are some of the most important physical markers for a child being overweight or obese. These factors do not always manifest but one should always be wary if they do as they could point to serious health hazards.

Panic Eating
If you find that your child always eats under stress take this as a sign of not only a serious mental issues but also that of being overweight. The diet of a child needs to be monitored carefully and they should be not only getting balanced meals but also plenty of exercise. Any unhealthy eating habits, like binge eating or eating when sad or anxious should be carefully examined and treated.

Also read: Beware! Excessive smartphone use may increase obesity risk

Listlessness
A child that is overweight or dealing with weight problems will often find themselves facing a lack of energy. They will not only be physically inactive but also listless and often depressed. Talk to your child when you see this symptom manifesting and get them medical help at the earliest. These issues may also arise because of external factors like teasing at school or even serious criticism they face at home.

There are a number of ways that you can help manage a child’s weight, and Skooc does just that for your child. Its comprehensive practice of imparting behavioral change has been proven apt in dealing with obesity.

(Disclaimer: The writer is Devi Mani, founder, Scooc, a Bangalore based startup specialized in health coaching for kids and teens. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)

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