The Channel 46

Paediatrician Dr Lini Balakrishnan Talks About Obesity & Weight Management in Kids

1. How can a parent understand if their child is overweight for his or her age?

A child’s health can be determined by looking at their height, weight and Body Mass Index or more commonly known as BMI. Parents must first be aware that obesity among children is a real problem and that it can affect their day to day activities. Using the BMI method is one of the simplest methods for a parent to understand their child’s health.

2. Are the terms Overweight and Obese interchange-able?

The terms overweight and obese are definitely two different terms used in two different circumstances. Both terms are concerned with weight gain however, they represent two entirely different concepts.

3. What are the factors that lead to unhealthy weight gain in children?

One of the major contributions towards weight gain among children is their interest in consuming sugary food items like candies, processed food, soda, and other food products high in preservatives and calories. Other factors include insufficient physical exercise, overuse of gadgets and television, lack of sleep and use of excessive medication.

4. Is it possible for a child to develop cholesterol & have high or low blood sugar levels so young?

Yes! When obesity is not brought under control children do have a higher chance of facing severe health risks like cholesterol, high or low blood sugar levels, and several other complications as well. On an average, children burn around 1,600 to 2,200 calories every day.

5. What are some of the foods a parent must include in their child’s diet to enable a feeling of satiety and reduce sense of deprivation or being on a diet?

One of the first things that parents need to curb is offering food as compensation for a job well done or as a bribe to get things done. There are other ways to get things done but food is not one of them. This will encourage children to turn to food for every situation they face in the future, encouraging weight gain which will lead to obesity.

6. What are some foods parents must eliminate from the child’s diet to help bring their weight in control?

– One of the best ways to encourage weight loss in children is by switching from processed food, juices, and other edible products that contain preservatives to organic, home-cooked food, and fresh juices. – Making sure your child gets enough fibre is another important thing to keep in mind because this will encourage healthy digestion and a smooth bowel movement. – Vegetables and fruits are a great way to encourage weight loss in children. – Start opting for fruits and nuts or nut butters as snack options instead of processed or store-bought options. – Smoothies are another delicious and healthy way to make sure your child’s appetite is satisfied. – Make sure to opt for healthier food choices like whole-wheat bread and pasta, and wholemeal rice.

7. Are there any diagnostic tests needed to check if an underlying condition is causing weight gain?

A few medical conditions that can cause weight gain in children are asthma, allergies, depression, growth hormone (GH) deficiency, hypothyroidism, and insulinoma, leptin resistance, prader-willie syndrome, and side effects of existing medication.

8. What are some lifestyle changes that can be introduced in the child’s routine to help manage their weight?

One of the major things to incorporate in your child’s life is physical activity. Making sure they go out and play and get at least 60 minutes to several hours of exercise a day is crucial for children to lose weight. Physical activity will also encourage the burning of calories, avoiding weight gain in the first place. Stick to child-like portions.

9. When is it advisable to take the child to a professional nutritionist or dietician?

When you notice your efforts to encourage weight loss in your child are not very effective, make sure to consult a doctor immediately. The doctor will be able to recommend tests or steps that can be taken to encourage weight loss or in identifying the factors behind weight loss. It is also important to take your child regularly for their appointments with their doctor to ensure that they don’t get obese or have a sudden weight gain.

10. How do you know if your child is truly overweight or whether it’s just baby fat and they’ll grow out of it?


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