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Body mass index (BMI) is a measure used to determine childhood overweight and obesity. It is calculated using a child's weight and height. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but it is a reasonable indicator of body fatness for most children and teens.
A child's weight status is determined using an age- and sex-specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults because children's body composition varies as they age and varies between boys and girls.
CDC Growth Charts are used to determine the corresponding BMI-for-age and sex percentile. For children and adolescents (aged 2-19 years):
Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.
Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.
Health Effects of Childhood Obesity
Immediate health effects:
Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self- esteem.
Long-term health effects:
Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults 11-14 and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.
What causes childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity.
Sugary drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses.
Advertising of less healthy foods.
Variation in licensure regulations among child care centers.
Lack of daily, quality physical activity in all schools.
No safe and appealing place, in many communities, to play or be active.
Limited access to healthy affordable foods.
Greater availability of high-energy-dense foods and sugary drinks.
Increasing portion sizes.
Lack of breastfeeding support.
Television and media. Children 8-18 years of age spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, including TV, computers, video games, cell phones, and movies. Of those 7.5 hours, about 4.5 hours is dedicated to viewing TV.
As a parent, you can help shape your child's attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity, and knowing these guidelines is a great place to start. Throughout their lives, encourage young people to be physically active for one hour or more each day, with activities ranging from informal, active play to organized sports. Here are some ways you can do this:
Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself.
Make physical activity part of your family's daily routine by taking family walks or playing active games together.
Give your children equipment that encourages physical activity.
Take young people to places where they can be active, such as public parks, community baseball fields or basketball courts.
Be positive about the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them to be interested in new activities.
Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything your child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play.
Instead of watching television after dinner, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes.
Be safe! Always provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads or knee pads and ensure that activity is age-appropriate.
Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.
This may sound like a lot, but don't worry! Your child may already be meeting the requirement. And, you'll soon discover all the easy and enjoyable ways to help your child meet the recommendations. Encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety! Just make sure your child or adolescent is doing three types of physical activity:
1. Aerobic Activity
Aerobic activity should make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week.
2. Muscle Strengthening
Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
3. Bone Strengthening
Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
How do I know if my child's aerobic activity is moderate- or vigorous-intensity?
Here are two ways to think about moderate- and vigorous-intensity:
Type of Physical Activity
Active recreation such as hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading
Walking to school
Active recreation, such as canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, skateboarding, rollerblading
Bicycle riding (stationary or road bike)
House and yard work such as sweeping or pushing a lawn mower
Playing games that require catching and throwing, such as baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball
Active games involving running and chasing, such as tag
Martial arts, such as karate
Sports such as ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming, tennis or gymnastics
Active games involving running and chasing, such as flag football, soccer
Martial arts such as karate
Sports such as tennis, ice or field hockey, basketball, swimming
Cheerleading or gymnastics
Games such as tug of war
Modified push-ups (with knees on the floor)
Resistance exercises using body weight or resistance bands
Rope or tree climbing
Swinging on playground equipment/bars
Games such as tug of war
Resistance exercises with exercise bands, weight machines, hand-held weights
Cheerleading or Gymnastics
Games such as hop-scotch
Hopping, skipping, jumping
Sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis
Hopping, skipping, jumping
Sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis
As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your son does moderate-intensity activity, his heart will beat faster than normal and he will breathe harder than normal. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your son does vigorous-intensity activity, his heart will beat much faster than normal and he will breathe much harder than normal.
Another way to judge intensity is to think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child. What amount of intensity would the average child use? For example, when your daughter walks to school with friends each morning, she's probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she is at school, when she runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, she's probably doing vigorous-intensity activity.
What do you mean by "age-appropriate" activities?
Some physical activity is better-suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. For example, they may do these types of programs along with their football or basketball team practice.
Balance is key in helping your child maintain a healthy weight. Balance the calories your child eats and drinks with the calories used through physical activity and normal growth.Overweight and obese children and teens should reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Don't put your child on a weight-reduction diet without talking to your health care provider.
Balancing calories: Help Kids Develop Healthy Eating Habits
Offer your kids nutritious meals and snacks with an appropriate number of calories. You can help them develop healthy eating habits by making favorite dishes healthier and by reducing calorie-rich temptations.
Help your kids understand the benefits of being physically active. Teach them that physical activity has great health benefits like:
Decreasing blood pressure
Reducing stress and anxiety
Helping with weight management
Help kids stay active.
Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week, and every day if possible. You can set a great example! Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:
Reduce sedentary time.
Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit "screen time" (TV, video games, Internet) to no more than two hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend TV for kids age 2 or younger.12 Encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity.
Reaching and maintaining an appropriate body weight is important.
That's why recommendations that focus on small but permanent changes in eating may work better than a series of short-term changes that can't be sustained. In treating most overweight children, the main emphasis should be to prevent weight gain above what's appropriate for expected increases in height. For many children this may mean limited or no weight gain while they grow taller.
Factors predicting success are:
including parents in the dietary treatment program
strong social support of dietary intervention from others involved in preparing food
regular physical activity prescription including social support
The importance of continuing these lifestyle changes well past the initial treatment period should be emphasized to the entire family. The healthiest way to change weight is gradually.
The Emotional Toll of Obesity Not only are there health costs associated with childhood obesity, but your child's weight problem is also intimately entangled in his emotional world.
For overweight children as well as their parents, living with excess pounds can be heartbreaking. In its own way, the social stigma attached to being overweight can be as damaging to a child as the physical diseases and conditions that often accompany obesity. You can probably see it in the eyes and hear it in the words of your own overweight child. In a society that puts a premium on thinness, studies show that children as young as 6 years may associate negative stereotypes with excess weight and believe that a heavy child is simply less likable.
Self-Esteem & School Bullying
True, some overweight children are very popular with their classmates, feel good about themselves, and have plenty of self confidence. But in general, if your child is obese, he is more likely to have low self-esteem than his thinner peers. His weak self-esteem can translate into feelings of shame about his body, and his lack of self-confidence can lead to poorer academic performance at school. You probably don't need a detailed description of how difficult the day-to-day life of overweight children can sometimes be. They might be called names. They could be subjected to teasing and bullying. Their former friends may avoid them, and they may also have trouble making new friends. They could be the last one chosen when teams are selected in physical education classes.
With all of this turmoil in an overweight child's life, he may feel as though he doesn't belong or fit in anywhere. He may see himself as different and an outcast. He'll often feel lonely and is less likely than his peers to describe himself as popular or cool. And when this scenario becomes ingrained as part of his life -month after month, year after year-he can become sad and clinically depressed and withdraw into himself.
In an ironic twist, some overweight children like these might seek emotional comfort in food, adding even more calories to their plates at the same time that their pediatricians and parents are urging them to eat less. Add to that the other emotional peaks and valleys of life, including the stress of moving to a new community, difficulties in school, or the death of a parent or a divorce, and some children routinely overindulge in food.
There are other obesity-related repercussions that continue well into adolescence and beyond. Heavy teenagers and adults might face discrimination based solely on their weight. Some research suggests that they are less likely to be accepted for admission by a prestigious university. They may also have a reduced chance of landing good jobs than their thinner peers. Overweight women have a decreased likelihood of dating or finding a marriage partner. In short, when heavy children become heavy adults, they tend to earn less money and marry less often than their friends who are of average weight.
Encourage healthy eating habits. Small changes can lead to a recipe for success!
Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products.Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
Choose poultry, fish, lentils and beans for protein.
Serve reasonably sized portions.
Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
Make favorite dishes healthier. Some of your favorite recipes can be healthier with a few changes. You can also try some new heart-healthy dishes that might just become favorites too!
Remove calorie-rich temptations. Treats are OK in moderation, but limiting high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks can also help your children develop healthy eating habits. Here are examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat and low-sugar treats that are 100 calories or less:
A medium-size apple
A medium-size banana
1 cup blueberries
1 cup grapes
1 cup carrots with yogurt dip
Choose a variety of foods to get enough carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients.
Eat only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight for your height and build. Kids should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.
Serve a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, while limiting juice intake. Each meal should contain at least 1 fruit or vegetable. Children's recommended fruit intake ranges from 1 cup/day, between ages 1 and 3, to 2 cups for a 14-18-year-old boy. Recommended vegetable intake ranges from 3/4th cup a day at age one to 3 cups for a 14-18-year-old boy.
Don't overfeed. Estimated calories needed by children range from 900/day for a 1-year-old to 1,800 for a 14-18-year-old girl and 2,200 for a 14-18-year-old boy.
Foods To Eat
Lukewarm Water with Lemon 1 glass
Milk without Sugar 2 Biscuits
2 Rotis 1/2 cup Paneer Curry
Brown Bread Upma 1 plate Milk 1 cup
1 Banana/1/2 cup Melon/20 Grapes
Brown Rice 1 cup (195 gm) Mixed Vegetables 1/2 cup
Salad 1 bowl Raita 1 small bowl
Butter Milk 1 cup
2 Rotis Vegetable Soup 1 bowl Salad 1 bowl
Eat small portions as Indian food tend to have a lot of variety which adds up the calories.