Diseases that had only been associated with adults in the past, such as hypertension, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and type II diabetes are now beginning to affect children in greater numbers than ever before. Experts attribute the rise to poor diet and growing incidences of childhood obesity. The problem is also in part due to under-recognition of obesity, as most parents do not see their children as overweight, even when they are.
Too Many Calories
A major part of the issue is that many children are simply consuming far more calories than they need. Many children in developed nations consume around 3,000 calories a day, which is about 1,000 calories too many for most children. Even very active children should only be consuming about 2,200 to 2,300 calories a day up until puberty.
Catching Issues Early
Pediatricians are now beginning to recommend that lipid tests be done on children by the age of nine. This can help doctors to spot issues such as high cholesterol before diseases have time to develop. Based on results, doctors can make recommendations regarding diet and exercise that may help children to reach safe levels and avoid diet-related diseases.
Poor Nutrition Issues
Dietary issues affecting children stem from what children are not getting just as much as overindulgence. Children often consume too many empty calories from junk foods in a day and do not receive adequate nutrition. A lack of calcium and vitamin D in many children’s diets is contributing to incidences of osteoporosis occurring when individuals reach their 20s.
Combating the Issue
To help combat the issues associated with childhood obesity and obesity related diseases, parents should be sure to provide ample amounts of healthy foods, while limiting the availability of unhealthy foods and snacks. Parents should also coach moderation, rather than restricting children from eating certain foods or quantities.