Norelle Done | HealthGreatness

Childhood obesity is a complex condition that be caused by a variety of issues. Although evidence supports the idea that some genes are more prone to obesity, environmental conditions and lifestyle choices play a large role in a child’s weight.

Table with birthday treats

According to the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, “When children eat more than they need, their bodies store the extra calories in fat cells to use for energy later. If this pattern continues over time, and their bodies do not need this stored energy, they develop more fat cells and may develop obesity.”

girl with junk food

Because food is much easier to access, and has fewer nutrients and more calories, fat and sugar, it can be harder for kids to find healthier choices and control their portion sizes. This environment can result in childhood obesity, particularly when combined with these seven bad habits:

  1. Skipping breakfast. The first meal of the day is crucial for helping your child get the nutrients he or she requires to learn and grow throughout the day. If your child skips breakfast, they might experience temptation to overeat at lunch (see number four below), or snack on unhealthy foods. Repetitive skipping can create more body fat and lead to obesity.
  2. Little to no regular exercise. Consistent exercise is key to your child’s health – not just to prevent them from becoming overweight and obese, but to improve their emotional and psychological health. Without regular exercise, your child could be at risk of developing obesity and other health problems.
  3. Eating lots of processed foods. With vending machines, commercials, and heavily-stocked aisles of processed foods at the grocery store, it can be hard to fight the noise by avoiding fast, frozen, or processed foods. It’s critical to encourage your child to eat fresh, nutrient-rich foods. In fact, it’s also important that you have healthy eating habits as well according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  4. Overeating. A child’s body is programmed to tell the child when he or she is hungry or satisfied, and if parents encourage the child to eat more and ‘clean your plate’, it can create unhealthy eating habits and develop obesity. Portion sizes that are too large may also lend themselves to this problem, and should be reduced or split when dining out.
  5. Too much TV time. With all of the technology out there, kids are playing more computer and video games, and watching more TV and movies than they ever used to (often at the cost of playing outside). These sedentary habits can lead to weight gain and risk of cancer, diabetes and hearth disease.
  6. Parents don’t exercise. If you have a poor diet and rarely (or never exercise), your child is at risk for similar habits. Kids see what their parents do and don’t do, and will consciously and unconsciously mimic those things in their own lives.