Our consultants answered the most common parental questions about overweight in children.
If, in adults, the main measure of excess weight is body mass index (BMI), in children this method is not used, since the concept of a norm is more flexible for them. In children and adolescents, they use so-called “centile tables” or graphs (they are easy to find on the Internet), according to which parents can independently determine the deviation of weight, height and, accordingly, the body mass index of a child of a particular age and sex.
The further the parameters of this child deviate from the average, the more pronounced the pathology.
At what age of the child should parents pay particular attention to his weight?
In the process of development of the child, fat in his body accumulates unevenly. It is actively formed during the first 9 months of life, then stabilization of the process occurs, by 5-7 years small upsurings occur, and it accumulates intensively during puberty. There are three critical periods:
- early childhood (0-3 years);
- preschool age (5-7 years);
- adolescence or puberty (12 to 17 years).
Than the excess gain in weight threatens?
Often a fat child turns into a fat adult. Or in the patient. Or not so smart.
It happens, even in a not too happy person. Because, first of all, childhood obesity is the main risk factor for the development of obesity in the future.
Secondly, of course, the presence of overweight and obesity in a child and adolescent is the cause of associated health problems, sometimes serious. Thirdly, it is proved that children with overweight learn less and develop less mentally.
It is impossible not to take into account the fact that excess weight interferes with the social adaptation of the child in the children’s team. Such children are often the object of ridicule, which leads to the formation of emotional disorders.
What to do if the parents found that the baby “outweighs”?
Not all overweight children need immediate diet therapy. With moderately overweight and even in the early stages of obesity, it is enough to increase physical activity and exclude high-calorie foods from the diet that contain a lot of fast carbohydrates and fats.
But, of course, only a doctor can assess the development of a child, its heredity, the dynamics of changes in the ratio of body weight to height. If the child is overweight, diet therapy is an important point in a comprehensive approach to the treatment of obesity.
For any degree of obesity, a child of any age must first be fed in accordance with its physiological norms.
What is the daily volume of fats, proteins, carbohydrates need a child?
Children who are overweight should have a strict diet (preferably at the same time) – 6-7 meals a day and the recommended one-time amount. With this rhythm of nutrition, food is easier to digest and assimilate. Proper distribution of food by calorie during the day is also a very important point.
More high-calorie foods (meat, fish, eggs) include in the diet in the first half of the day, and in the second – highly digestible: milk-vegetable. Calorie intake is reduced due to carbohydrates and animal fats, and the amount of protein corresponds to the physiological norm.
What should be on the menu?
Sources of protein: low-fat meats, fish, eggs, milk and low-fat dairy products. Sour cream, cream, fat cottage cheese, curd mass, fat cheeses, butter are limited or completely excluded.
The amount of carbohydrates in the daily diet decreases in proportion to the degree of obesity. Fast carbohydrates are excluded: confectionery, sugar, etc., as well as semolina, potatoes, wheat bread, pasta, wheat bread. Child will receive carbohydrates with fruits and vegetables.
Sweet and sour fruits and berries, natural unsweetened juices, dried fruits are beneficial for overweight children. Refractory and hydrogenated fats are excluded from the diet of a child with obesity in favor of vegetable oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids.
To reduce your appetite, you should exclude seasonings, rich broths, fried foods, salted and smoked snacks. Food is steamed, boiled or stewed.
What, besides proper nutrition, can parents help a child?
Much depends on the culture of food in the family, because it includes not only the rules of behavior at the table, but also the concept of the usefulness or harm of certain products. It is also important how meals are served in families. During lunch, in front of the TV or tablet, food is automatically ingested, sometimes in unlimited quantities.
In this case, the child is not satisfied, but, without noticing how much he has eaten, he constantly overeats. You can not use food as a reward or punishment! The child needs to stimulate physical activity, not his appetite.
For children, motor activity is very important, it will help to use up the calories received and will be a good prevention of other diseases associated with physical inactivity. One of the difficulties of a child suffering from obesity is the reluctance of the child to go on a diet. Small patients may simply refuse to eat uninteresting foods.
This problem can be solved by a nutritionist who will competently put together a child’s diet, including very tasty meals and his favorite foods in the diet, but the nutrition will be completely balanced. A meeting with a psychologist will help him understand what overweight is and why we should part with it.
Without traumatizing the psyche of the child, the specialist motivates the patient. Only a psychologist will help to look at your weight and the problems associated with it adequately and positively, and give an incentive to combat obesity.
Childhood obesity: how to protect a child from it
Losing weight gained in childhood is very difficult. Meanwhile, in order not to get the nickname “fat man” for the rest of your life, it is enough just to have some healthy habits in childhood.
Obesity in children: problem diagnosis and treatment
If the parents notice that the baby is too fast or, conversely, is recovering too slowly, it is necessary to discuss this topic with the pediatrician. He will assess the height and weight of the child in accordance with accepted standards and, finding deviations in one direction or another, will explain how to remedy the situation. Moms and dads should take into account that the problem of the normalization of weight in crumbs requires a comprehensive solution.
Often you have to contact a pediatric nutritionist, and sometimes you can not do without consulting an endocrinologist or a gastroenterologist. Read more