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Obesity Among Children

Cute, But Not Healthy!

As other kids ran fast to escape the catcher, Shanil was caught for the third time as he could hardly run as fast as his friends. Thrilled at this, the other kids started to tease him, shouting “bathalaya” until tears rolled down the chubby cheeks of Shanil who was already worried for being the looser of the game for so many times.

Many overweight children face bitter experiences like Shanil. Perhaps your child also could be among them.

Most Sri Lankan mothers view chubby and plump kids as hale and hearty, and a symbol of the prosperity of their parents! Therefore, it is necessary to break this myth and recognize obesity in Sri Lanka as ‘something more than average fatness’. It is a situation where the excessive body fat is a threat to your child’s health. Seek for a doctor’s help in determining whether your child is obese or not as it is difficult to decide all by yourself.

What Causes Obesity?

Some of the common reasons for obesity are family tendency and fast foods with lots of fat and sugar. This makes the child gain weight fast and decreases physical activity as the kids’ leisure times are spent with the TV, video games or computer.

Health Implications

If not combated successfully, obesity can even be life threatening!

  • As overweight children tend to remain obese when they become adults they have a high risk of getting diabetics, heart diseases, high blood pressure, liver diseases (fatty liver) later in their lives
  • They may suffer from sleeping disorders such as difficulty in falling asleep and frequent awakening during the night. This affects their daily activities as they may feel drowsy during the day due to lack of sleep
  • Further, it can cause low self-esteem, mental stress and sadness, which can lead to depression. Your child can be de-motivated due to negative body image and he may refuse to join peer activities and hesitate to socialize with friends

Help Your Child To Overcome Obesity

Here are some of the ways to make your contribution to beat obesity in Sri Lanka.

  • Be a role model to your child by maintaining your figure. Help your child to achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Prepare your child’s meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and do not make him or her grab an oily pastry as he rushes to school
  • In addition, limit the time he spends in front of the TV and computer. Instead make him or her exercise daily with physical activities such as cycling, swimming and skipping

A happy child, bubbling with enthusiasm and vigor, is the dream of every mother. It is also your wholehearted wish. Therefore, make sure that your child is not overweight. By doing this, you are not only making him a healthy child now, but also paving him the path to be a healthy adult.

One day your child is sure to be thankful to you for that!

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