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Unlocking Healthy Futures: Understanding Childhood Obesity

Hey everyone! 👋 Let’s dive into an essential topic: Childhood Obesity. 🍔🏃‍♂️

Here’s what you need to know:

Defining Childhood Obesity:
Obesity in children is defined by a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥95th percentile for their age and sex. Put simply, it means they’re carrying excess body fat, which can lead to various health complications.

Causes and How it Happens:
Childhood obesity does not happen overnight. It is often the result of a combination of factors, including poor dietary choices, sedentary lifestyles, genetic predispositions and environmental influences. Regular consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods coupled with limited physical activity, sets the stage for weight gain.

Impact on Growth and Development:
Beyond the numbers on the scale, obesity can impact every aspect of a child’s growth and development. It can strain their bones and joints, disrupt hormonal balance, and take a toll on their mental well-being. Additionally, obese children are at a higher risk of developing serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease later in life.

Managing Childhood Obesity:
The good news is, there are steps we can take to address childhood obesity and promote healthier lifestyles. Encouraging balanced meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains while limiting processed foods and sugary beverages is a great start. Getting kids involved in physical activities they enjoy and reducing screen time can also make a significant difference.

Digging Deeper:

While lifestyle factors are often primary contributors to obesity, it’s essential to be aware of other potential causes, such as underlying medical conditions like problems with hormones. If you notice unusual symptoms or rapid weight gain in your child, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Together, We Can Make a Difference:

As parents, educators, and caregivers, we play a vital role in shaping our children’s health outcomes. By fostering supportive environments that prioritise healthy habits, we can empower our kids to lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Let’s join forces to tackle childhood obesity and pave the way for a healthier future for our children and our nation.

Let’s build a brighter tomorrow, one healthy choice at a time! 💪

by Dr Bernice Lim Pei-Yi, Consultant Paediatrician