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Child obesity is one of the most concerning public health challenges of the 21st century. This is a global problem and is slowly affecting tons of middle and low income nations around the world. This is particularly prevalent in urban settings where life progresses at a daunting pace. Children who are overweight are likely to be overweight through adulthood as well and because of that, they may also develop non-communicable diseases, such as heart diseases and diabetes, before reaching middle age. The good news is that it is preventable. The prevalence of obesity is also present in adolescents. 

Why is it Important?

Childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of disability and premature death in adulthood, and that is not even accounting the mental stress and problems that come with it. For most non-communicable diseases, their risks depend a lot on the age of onset of obesity and the time that a child has been obese. These things determine the short and long term consequences that children run the risk of. The most significant health consequence of obesity does not appear until adulthood.

This is a result of the different types of cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There are 2.6 million people who die every year because they are overweight. If that does not have you concerned about keeping your child’s BMI in check, we don’t know what will.

The Major Risk

A lot of low and middle income nations are suffering from what is described as the ‘Double Burden’ of this disease. They are not only struggling with a generation that is overweight but are facing problems regarding malnutrition and infectious diseases amongst the children. To top this off, they are concerned about the non-communicable diseases that are imposed on them. An interesting thing is that it is very normal to find malnutrition and obesity to be prevalent problems which exist side by side. In a nutshell, it is fair to say that this Double Burden phenomenon is actually the cause of improper child and infant nutrition which. The energy dense food brimming with fat content which is without adequate amounts of micronutrients in them accompanied by a lack of physical activity, mostly in urban settings, is the primary reason of this.

The Solution is Simple

The things that are simple are often the ones that are overlooked. Parents should start prioritizing a child’s diet that is filled with nuts, whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies. They should also limit their energy intake from fats and sugars. Parents should also encourage their children to be more physically active to decrease the risk of being affected by obesity