The world is going through an epidemic of childhood obesity. 1 in every 5 children is overweight. "Why is my child gaining so much weight Doc?” – A question I am frequently asked, but find it difficult to answer fully in my busy clinic scenario. Many inherent and lifestyle factors contribute to abnormal weight gain in children, which can be well monitored by maintaining children's BMI chart specific for age and sex.
Weight gain cycle
Low level of activity is a common cause of weight gain. Which came first; low inclination for being active or overweight?
Family activity habits like walking, bicycle riding and active recreation helps children develop active lifestyle.
Outdoor games are crucial for optimal child health
Children are usually apprehensive of new surroundings and new people. To cultivate the habit parents not only need to accompany their children to the playground, but also actively participate in the games.
This imbibes confidence in children; they cherish the company of the parents and perceive outdoor games as source of enjoyment. – After all children learn everything that they see their parents do.
Coming of a sibling: The first child goes through a feeling of rejection, which seldom gets any consideration.
Starting at school: Though taken by adults in child’s environment as a normal childhood curriculum, but it causes severe psycho-social upheaval in children; approval of teachers, high demands on discipline and coping up with peers.
Hormonal disorders are well known to be a cause of abnormal weight gain that is predominantly central with expanding waistline. However, hormone derangement is confirmed only in about 2 percent of obese children.
Excessive weight gain by the mother when the concerned child was in the womb is one of the contributing factors to childhood obesity and is associated with weight gain in children during early school years.
However, parents of children who are already victim of overweight cannot do anything about what happened in the past, so I will not elaborate on it. This little information is for future pregnancy.
Abnormalities usually associated with childhood obesity