More and more children and young people are confronted with obesity at an early age. This can have various causes. It is not only important to find out the cause of the excess weight. It is also important to know how to deal with it and act accordingly. In this blog, we would like to take some time to go into it in more detail. Are you reading with us?
Overweight children and young people in the UK:
Many studies are carried out into the number of children and young people who are overweight or obese. This is also the case in the UK. The most recent figures show that the number of overweight and obese children and young people continues to rise.
In the category of 4 to 5 year olds, 23.2% are overweight in 2020. Of these, 13.5% are moderately overweight and 9.9% are seriously overweight (obesity).
In the category 10 to 11 years old, 35.1% are overweight in 2020. Of these, 14.1% are moderately overweight and 21% are seriously overweight (obesity).
How do young people themselves deal with obesity?
Recent studies show that the older children/young people get, the more prone they are to being overweight. It is clear that overweight is most common in young adults. But how do young people themselves deal with overweight and obesity? Here are some facts:
Young people generally consider their health to be good, regardless of their weight:
Unhealthy nutrition during childhood & adolescence has a negative influence:
Our intestines are home to numerous organisms that strengthen the immune system, break down food and help build vitamins. All these organisms together form the microbiome. If the healthy balance between beneficial and harmful organisms is disturbed, you are more susceptible to disease. It is precisely this balance that can be disturbed by an unhealthy diet.
Certain necessary bacteria can decrease when eating unhealthy food, regardless of the amount of physical activity. So if children eat too much unhealthy food (fat and sugar), their microbiome can be affected up to 6 years after puberty. So always make sure that children and adolescents consume enough healthy food. This will benefit them both during and well beyond their childhood.
Too much screen time can also cause obesity
Children and adolescents may be at increased risk of developing an eating disorder if they spend too much time on social media and watching TV programmes. Someone with an eating disorder has uncontrollable binge eating several times a week.
Every additional hour children and adolescents spend on social media is associated with a 62% higher risk of developing an eating disorder in the next year.
Each additional hour spent by children or adolescents watching films, series or TV programmes is associated with a 39% higher risk of developing an eating disorder in the next year.
There are several possible causes to explain this link:
The corona pandemic also has a negative impact on this problem. Since the corona pandemic, children and young people on average spend more time on social media and in front of the screen.
How do you help children and young people tackle obesity?
Fighting obesity is one of the main challenges for the health sector in 2021. However, there are some important things that can be done to combat obesity:
It is not advisable to put your child on a strict diet yourself. Children need all the nutrients they can get to grow properly. So always ask your doctor for advice first.