Child obesity has become a world-wide epidemic, especially in the gulf. Can it be treated? Definitely! It is much easier to treat an obese child than an adult sometimes, because the parents can monitor what children eat at home and a child’s metabolism is much faster than an adult’s. Treatment involves reducing the rate of weight gain to allow the child to grow into a healthier BMI. A child’s body mass index can be calculated the same way as an adult’s. However, healthy BMI numbers are different for adults than they are for kids. Special charts to measure weight status of children are needed.
What happens if this problem isn’t dealt with? Well, obese children are more likely to become obese as adults than are normal weight children. Childhood obesity is a dangerous disease and can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. Overweight and obese children have a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, diabetes type 2, and joint problems. Additionally, the psychological effects of being an obese child could lower your child’s self-esteem. Treatment of child obesity reduces the risk of developing these health complications. The early stages of heart disease can start as early as in childhood, where obese children may develop high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, and high cholesterol.
If your child is overweight or obese, consult with a licensed dietitian to receive the guidance and support for you and your child’s successful weight management and better health!
Nada Jawahery is the Registered Dietician at Royal Bahrain Hospital and is a member of, and licensed by, the American Dietetics Association. For more information call 17246832 or email: Nada.Jawahery@royalbhrn.com