According to the World Health Organization, about 10% of children between 5 and 17 years of age worldwide are obese. For Bulgaria, statistics are also quite alarming and show that 20% of Bulgarian children are above the standard weight, 14% are overweight and 7% are obese.
Why are we sharing this disturbing data?
We have to! We have to do something to deal with this very difficult problem because this disease is treated slowly and hard and if we do not take measures to take care of the health and the weight of our children today, tomorrow they will become obese adults, suffering from not one and two diseases.
Can we do something on our own?
Of course, we can! It is up to us to take care of improving the child’s eating habits, to make sure he or she gets out of the room and does sports. We are the people that need to discuss if we need weight loss diets for children under the age of 14 to help them reduce their weight slowly and in a healthy way.
We can do a lot but before that we would like to talk about…
The most common causes that lead to obesity of children and teenagers
Giving a brief answer why in recent years the weight of children is rising at an alarming rate is not possible as the factors are many but as leading reasons the specialists point out:
Poor eating habits of the children
If adolescents had to eat home-made and balanced food years ago, the percentage of children who miss breakfast or who eat highly-glycemic foods or packaged foods has grown enormously.
More than 50% of children under the age of 14 reach for unbalanced foods and carbonated beverages as intermediate meals during school hours or after dinner.
Reduced or zero consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables
Children are less and less likely to consume fresh fruit and vegetables, while over-drinking, “natural” juice from a carton, sweet and packaged foods.
Insufficient physical activity
Every year, our children get immobilized and become increasingly prone to sit in front of the computer or TV, which inevitably leads to weight gain.
Insufficient physical activity is due, in addition to the excessive digitization of our lives, also to the high intake of fat with food, or in other words, the more children eat unbalanced and high-calorie food, the less they will want to go out even for a walk. Because fat makes us all lazy.
Lack of adequate sleep, increased tension and stress
Unfortunately, today’s children are sleeping much less, are under stress and have a lot of commitments they have to deal with. All of this leads to more and more frequent reaching to unhealthy food or eating at an inappropriate time which again affects the weight.
What are the consequences of children’s obesity?
Obesity during childhood and adolescence has a severe impact on the self-esteem of adolescents and on their health.
The first thing overweight children face is being mocked at school which lowers their self-esteem. The mistake of many parents is that they do not take seriously the mockery the plump children are exposed to at school but this is a problem that may negatively affect the child’s entire life in the future.
Apart from emotional problems and reduced self-esteem, no less worrying are the diseases, the main culprits of which are exactly obesity and overweight.
It is well known that excessive weight weakens immunity and makes the body more susceptible to chronic diseases. Pulmonary diseases, shortness of breath, sleep apnea, even asthma are common in overweight children.
Overweight in children also affects bones and joints as it leads to frequent sprains and fractures of the limbs that do not withstand the heavy load.
There is an increasing number of overweight children who suffer from high blood pressure, arrhythmia, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes which are diseases that until recently occurred mainly in adults.
If the weight is not normalized, the problems get worse at a later stage which can lead to stroke, heart attack, menstrual abnormalities and ovarian problems in girls, eating disorders, biliary tract problems, kidney problems, and so on.
How do we normalize the weight of children?
If there is will, there is hope to achieve it – both we as parents and our children. First of all, action must be taken immediately, without resorting to drastic measures.
Changing nutrition is the first step to take and this can be done with weight loss diets for children up to 14 years of age. And before you get shocked that you have to put your child on a diet, we will tell you that we are not talking about a strict and drastic diet but a balanced way of eating.
*Change in daily diet is the first step to normalizing weight. This means adding more fresh fruit and vegetable products, olive oil, whole grain bread, fish, lean meat and reducing carbohydrates, processed foods, sugar and carbonated beverages from the weight loss diet for children up to 14 years of age.
In order not to traumatize the child, it is good to change the whole family’s diet. In this way, the child will accept the idea of eating good, balanced and light food – will slowly get used to the fruit and vegetables instead of the waffle or the pastry.
In this line of thought, one of the good and appropriate diets for weight loss for children under 14 years of age (and for you if you need and desire it) is theMediterranean diet.
*The other important thing is changing the way the child eats. The child should learn to eat at the table and digest slowly and well.
*Drinking enough water is also very important in dietary and balanced and healthy way of eating, so the child should drink at least 1–1.5 liters of water per day.
*It should also be remembered that healthy weight loss is possible only in combination between balanced nutrition and sport. Sport keeps the body healthy and helps burn calories, so the child has to do sport.