Childhood obesity, here are the risk factors

In the western world 43% of children are overweight, while the incidence of childhood obesity (which in Del Paese it affects one in 4 children) increases continuously, with an increase of 2% per year. Blame, according to a research by the University of Illinois published in the journal Childhood Obesity, above all three factors: an insufficient number of hours of sleep, a family environment with overweight parents (in our country there are just under 5 million obese adults and 16 million overweight), but also families with parents too attentive to nutrition to the point of imposing too many restrictions on food on their children. (Read: 14 tips on what to do if your child is overweight)

"The good news - comments the author of the research, Professor Brent McBride - is that on these three factors we can work to change things. And the most important step is to change the habits of families.

  1. Children must find healthy foods at home instead of junk food,

  2. you have to get them used to not going to sleep late at night,

  3. parents must always remember that their habits risk becoming those of the little ones. For example, if you prefer to always watch TV rather than play sports, your children will also be led to imitate these behaviors ".


For the scholar, moreover, "it is better not to impose excessive restrictions: if a child is never given the opportunity to eat a packet of chips when he has it available, there is a risk of causing a reverse reaction "which can lead him to overeat, perhaps secretly from his parents.

McBride then invites parents to offer the children healthy foods several times, without forcing them, instead focusing on the fact that they get used to eating them by themselves, seeing that mom and dad also follow a balanced diet.

Prevention, therefore, as a weapon to defeat the problem: an approach also suggested by an OECD report of 2022 and by the Del Paesena Foundation for the fight against childhood obesity, according to which "it is necessary to correct the wrong habits of life from an early age, transfer in children, a healthy lifestyle is of fundamental importance and supporting obese children by correcting bad habits means raising healthy and aware children ". YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THE SPECIAL SPORT IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN

But how do you know if a child is obese or overweight?

"The calculation - explains the Foundation on its website - is more complex than that for adults, whose ideal weight is calculated based on the BMI (Body Mass Index or Body Mass Index, i.e. the weight in kilos divided by height in meters, squared). Obese is defined as a child whose weight exceeds the ideal weight by 20%; overweight if it exceeds it by 10-20% ".


Read the insights on the nutrition of children from 3 to 6 years


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  • childhood obesity
  • 1-2 children years
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