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The Effects of Obesity in Children and Their Future
The Effects of Obesity in Children and Their Future

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Childhood is the time when your children undergo nutrition adjustment and organ development before entering the next phase of their life, adolescent and adulthood. Parents often consider chubby children as funny and cute. Little do they know that obesity is an important health problem with serious effect, not only during the development process but also for the children’s future. Overweight children can have obesity related problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep disturbance, and diabetes mellitus. According to Basic Health Research 2013 performed by Indonesian Ministry of Health, the obesity number among children age 5-12 years old is as high as 18,8%, that include 10,8% with overweight and 8.8% with obesity. Jakarta hold the first rank in terms of overweigth prevalence which is 30,1 % and also the first rank for obesity. You can not consider this problem as a trivial problem. The principle of obesity treatment is not as simple as it seem. Not only about reducing intake and increase physical activity. In reality, obesity treatment require a long time to treat and sometimes make you, as parents, frustrated. Therefor, an efficient obesity approach and parents persistence is required to achieve healthy lifestyle and healthy eating pattern. You need to realize that overweight children does not necessarily mean that he is healthy. There are some factors that may influence obesity, like genetic and environment factors. Normoweight children tend to get sick less, a better concentration, and better self esteem. Are you curious about your children weight status? To assess your children body weight status, you can look at the children growth graphic. Indonesia Pediatrician Association (Ikatan Dokter Anak Indonesia /IDAI) recommend the following rule:

  • For children under the age of 2 years old, use the WHO 2006 body mass index. The Z score >+2 is categorized as overweight and the value of >+3 is considered obese.
  • For children age 2-18 year old, use the CDC 2000 body mass index. The value above 85-95 is considered overweight and above 95 percentile is considered obese.
If your children had excessive weight, what should you do as parents? You need to pay attention to these two things for a good weight control: Food Body weight and food intake is inseparable. Increasing body weight can be influenced by what your children usually eat daily. You need to have a good control of your children’s eating pattern. How can you control your children’s eating habit? Pay attention to these tips:
  • Shopping. Do your grocery shopping wisely. Limit food rich in glucose and fat. Choose low fat dairy product, like low-fat yougurt.
  • Meal time. Create a meal time for your children. Record every time your children ask for more food. Does it because he is really hungry or he simply just want to chew. Eat when your body really need it, not because of emotional desire.
  • Eating portion. Serve the food in small plate to make the serving size looks bigger
  • The type of food. Give your children food high in fiber to make your children more energized. Serve him low calorie snack, like fruit and vegetable. According to WHO, your children need at least five servings of fruit and vegetable.
  • Nutrition education. You need to find as much information about nutrition for your family.
Physical activity Beside the food intake, physical activity has an important role in maintaining body weight. Through a good physical activity, your children will have a good physical health and he can be more creative.
  • Give example. Encourage your children to actively move. Instead of giving suggestion, you need to involve yourself in the physical activity. You can also develop a good bonding with your children through this activity.
    • For your baby, physical activity need to be initiated as early as possible. Reaching toys using his hand, pulling and pushing, moving their head and body, rolling, are example of simple activity to stimulate your baby physical activity.
    • For toodler, physical activity need to be perfomed at least three hours a day in divided period along the day. The example of physical activity is standing on his own, walking, playing, jumping, running, and playing games.
    • For children above five years, make sure the physical activity is performed in a more intense way minimally one hour a day. The physical activity can be divided along the day. Take the children to play outside, like hide and seek and swimming.
  • Reduce passive activity like watching TV, playing video game and playing gadget. Limit his time doing these activities to less than one hour a day for pre school and two hours a day for school period.
Healthy children need a wide variety of food to maintain his nutrition. You need to change your children’s lifestyle slowly and through a creative way. A good eating pattern and physical activity is a must. If you are having difficulty in maintaining your children body weight, consult to his pediatrician for further suggestion.  

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