Obesity in Children
|Source :||TETRA Nutritional Consultation Centre|
Obesity in children becomes a curial issue in Hong Kong. A report reveals that obese children have a 60% probability of growing into obese adults. The risk of Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers is also heightened if an obese child continues to gain weight. On the mental health side, obese children are more likely to be jeered and made fun of or even excluded, which results in low self-confidence. This coupled with physical inadequacy that restricts their activities, often leads to social problems and they may develop depression or eating disorder in the long run. Today, obesity in children is one of the greatest public health concerns in Hong Kong.
The source of obesity in children can be traced to urbanization and modernization. In our rapidly developing society we fail to provide a healthy living environment. School children seldom engage in outdoor activities or tasks that require physical labor both at school and after school. Most of their time is spent in extension classes, watching TV and online activities. Meanwhile, most parents are working people and very often they are too busy to attend to their childrens daily meals. High-calorie and high-fat fast food is an obvious choice. With a large intake of calories and little physical exercise, obesity risk is increased.
Detect your childs nutrition problems:
Does your child have partiality for meat?
Meat is rich in protein that is essential for repairing cells and strengthening resistance to diseases. Red meat, in particular, is rich in iron and is an effective prevention for anemia. In a developed city like Hong Kong, children very rarely have meat deficiency problems. Contrarily, excessive consumption of meat may lead to over-intake of calories and fat which can easily cause obesity and hypercholesterolemia. Past survey has also found that the protein intake of children in Hong Kong is 2-4 times higher than the recommended standard while the blood cholesterol level of our 7-year-olds is the second highest in the world.
Does your child have enough grain foods?
Grain foods are congee, noodles, pastas, rice, bread and biscuits. These food products are rich in starch and provide the calories we need for bodily functions and physical activities. When we consume less grain products than required we may eat more meat to fill our stomach. This is a major cause of obesity. Be aware of some grain food will contain higher calories and fat after the production, processing or preparation process. Examples are fried E-Fu noodle, oil noodle and instant noodle, fried noodle and fried rice. You can easily build up weight if such food products make up your staple diet. There is a risk of getting over-weight or obese, and the chance of chronic diseases is also higher.
Is your child eating more for dinner and less for lunch?
Very often, children only have a small lunch at school and no refreshment is taken in the afternoon because of busy homework and after-school activities. By dinner time, they would have a great appetite and eat more than they should. The correct way of eating is to spread the intake of calories evenly over three meals, and supplement with snacks in between. While the body needs more energy during the day, children also require calories to support growth at night. Therefore we should not place emphasis on any particular meal.
How to help your child maintain a healthy body weight
As children are still growing, it is not suggested to have a fast weight-loss unless they are grossly overweight. The correct approach is to foster a healthy lifestyle. Parent and child can talk to nutrition and seek for the recommendations on nutrition, the correct and healthy concept of eating and practical diet. As a third person, the nutritionist can help monitor your child’s behavior and diet in order to make the improvements. The role of parents is also vital. You should acquire knowledge about nutrition and diet, and provide a healthy living environment. For example, prepare food for your children and exercise with them to develop a healthy lifestyle. This will benefit children and parents alike. You will enjoy better satisfaction from being responsible parents and your own health will also be enhanced.The following are some easy yet nutritious diet plans:
|Western||Sandwich||Fillings : Tinned tuna in water, low-fat cheese, tomato, boiled eggs (avoid high-fat preserved meat like luncheon meat, sausage or corned beef)|
|Corn flakes||Corn flakes + 1 glass of high-calcium low-fat milk or high-calcium low-fat soya milk.|
|Oatmeal||Oatmeal + 1 glass of high-calcium low-fat milk or high-calcium low-fat soya milk.|
|Chinese||Vermicelli/ Macaroni||Vermicelli with mixed vegetables and shredded pork, Vermicelli with Chinese cabbage and sliced beef, Macaroni with ham and beans (Easier choices are instant vermicelli, instant macaroni or non-deep-fried noodle. Avoid high-fat E-Fu noodle, oil noodle or instant noodle)|
|Congee||Congee with preserved egg and lean pork, Congee with fresh fish slices, Congee with lean beef (Avoid high-fat ingredients like pork bones, chicken claws or peanuts. Add shredded lettuce for extra fibre.)|
Source: TETRA Nutritional Consultation Centre