Overweight children often overlooked

This is a chart showing the percent of childhood obesity as it evolves over time. The data begins in the early 1960s and goes all the way to the late 2010s. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

This is a chart showing the percent of childhood obesity as it evolves over time. The data begins in the early 1960s and goes all the way to the late 2010s. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Remember being a child and being rewarded with a McDonald’s ice cream cone? Or maybe rushing around town and stopping at Burger King for dinner?

Most of the time, it doesn’t create any major health problems. But sometimes, this can create bad habits for life, starting in one’s childhood.

It is a problem not taken seriously enough. Everything is about adults taking care of themselves. There are shows teaching adults how to lose weight fast. There are documentaries about how much bad food adults eat. There are even advertisements for special weight loss pills for adults.

But what about children? Kids are under the responsibility of adults, so they should be a healthy weight, too.

This isn’t always the case. While I’m not blaming all kids’ parents, they can sometimes be the problem.

For example, a child vocalizes that they aren’t hungry for dinner; they are full and don’t want to finish their plate. However, because their parent doesn’t want to waste any food, the child is forced to finish the plate. This gets them stuck into a cycle of not being hungry, but still eating that can lead to being overweight or even obese.

Another reason children might begin to overeat is the child using food as comfort. They could be bullied at school or bullied at home and have nobody to turn to except food. It is always there when they need it, unlike the other people in their life.

They want food that tastes good, but unluckily, the foods that taste good are also the ones that are the worst for people to eat.

A third way a child could being to take on the extra pounds is more parental influence. The parent is overweight or maybe even obese, and the child thinks that it is okay to be like them.

They look up to their parents even if their parents’ habits are not the best.

Now, even if these parents are not eating how they want their children to eat, that doesn’t mean they should be encouraging these habits, especially because of the terrible health problems that can arise, even in childhood.

According to Benioff Children’s Hospital, the problems can include early-type two diabetes, beginning indicators of heart disease, high blood pressure, and liver problems–all health concerns arising as a child.

For the most part, these health problems used to affect adults only. There was not a very high percentage of overweight children.

In 2000, only about 10% of children in the world were overweight and before that even less. But as of 2016, the number has jumped up to about 18%, according to UNICEF’s report on the state of the world’s children.

This number is only projected to increase and that is not okay.

The constant pushing of junk food towards kids is taking its toll and if it continues to happen, more and more kids could die early.

But good news–there is light at the end of the tunnel–because habits can always be changed and weight can always be lost.

For those majorly obese kids, weight loss surgery – or bariatric surgery – is an option, according to healthychildren.org.While it may seem like that surgery would be detrimental to kids, that is just plain wrong. Once the decision is made, the health benefits are proven to stick.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the studies conducted resulted in the subjects having a 27% weight reduction after the surgery. These same subjects even had fewer problems with high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

So, even if it feels hopeless, and there is no solution in sight, this surgery can be a lifesaver, even for children.

But, if the kids aren’t taught good habits when they are young, they may need to make this dire decision.

In the end, it all comes down to creating healthy habits early in life. Make bad habits, have a bad life. Make good habits, have a healthy life.