Beware of Red Flags for Childhood Obesity


Did you know that the risk for childhood obesity may already be present before a baby is even born? That’s true. In many cases, risks manifest themselves as early as possible. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the baby development process. It’s better to spot warning signs as early as possible.

Red Flags Checklist

Your children may seem too young and small to be candidates for obesity, but if they check for many items on the following list, then the risk of them being obese by age seven is pretty high.

  •         One or both of their parents suffer from obesity.
  •         They were born at a heavier weight.
  •         At three years old, they have already been spending more than eight hours watching television.
  •         At three years old, they have been sleeping less than 10.5 hours at night.
  •         They have been at a bigger size even early in life.
  •         They exhibited rapid weight gain in infancy.
  •         They exhibited rapid catch-up growth in the first two years of life.
  •         They prematurely developed body fatness before the typical timeframe of five to six years of age.

Accompanying Issues of Childhood Obesity

Obesity, as you know, is the extreme end of being overweight. The rates of childhood obesity have climbed at an alarmingly fast pace in recent years. This is very disturbing as obesity isn’t only a weight issue. It comes with a slew of complications.

To begin with, childhood obesity tends to linger into adulthood, so there’s that consideration as well. What are the other negative health effects that accompany the condition?

1.     Heart Problems

Obese children have an increased risk of early onset of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels, all issues that normally besiege people in their 50s or 60s. With cases of childhood obesity, however, there are now cases of teenagers at risk of heart attack and stroke.

2.     Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is now considered an epidemic among adults, but the rates of its juvenile onset have similarly skyrocketed as well. Childhood obesity is a primary factor. Diabetes, unfortunately, is seemingly a curse that keeps on cursing. Those who have it are also at greater risk for kidney failure and heart disease.

3.     Sleep Apnea

This issue hardly seems as alarming as the first two, but it is still has a significant impact on your children’s quality of life. A breathing disorder is no trifling matter, in the first place, and it does pose serious health risks, but with regard to the more immediate consequence, sleep apnea leads to sluggishness during the day, affecting their performance in school and elsewhere.

4.     Social Anxiety

Childhood obesity often causes depression and low self-esteem. Bullying doesn’t have to be blatantly mean to transpire. Subtle persecutions come in the form of casual commentary and exclusion, which often stems from certain inabilities due to the extreme physical condition.

Family Solutions

If your children are obese, on the verge of being obese, or simply at risk of being obese, it’s recommended that you pay more attention to their growth chart. Also, make sure that you regularly bring them to their pediatrician for wellness checks.

You might be inclined to put overweight children on a weight reduction diet, but don’t be so quick to do that. Dieting is a very superficial solution. For more effective and lasting results, the best way to steer your children away from the path to obesity is to adopt a healthy lifestyle as a family.

What does healthy living entail? This means removing unhealthy calorie-rich foods from your home. There shouldn’t be any secret stashes for parents. You have to make the effort and find ways to make wholesome food more appealing to them.

Exercise is another key factor. Get your children moving in ways that are fun and engaging for them. You might want to make after-meal strolls a tradition.

The point is to reduce their sedentary time as much as possible. Allow screen time that does not go over two hours every day. It definitely helps if you do screen-free time with them. It sends mixed signals if you’re perpetually on your smartphone while you’re persuading them to get away from their electronic devices.

Behavior Model

On that note, a very important motivation for them is your own effort to keep yourself healthy and at a reasonable weight. Children will be more inclined to actively change their ways when they don’t feel alone in the endeavor.