NHS

Childhood obesity

Obesity is rarely due to a medical problem

 

Obesity is a medical term used to describe kids (and adults) who carry 20 per cent extra body weight. This extra weight, if not treated early on, could cause serious health problems such as arthritis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression in later life. Help stop obesity before it starts by making sure they eat a balanced diet and get enough exercise.

Being overweight is rarely to do with a medical problem, many kids simply have unhealthy diets and don't do enough exercise. It is better to prevent your child becoming overweight or obese in the first place.

Many parents feel guilty (or in denial) that their child is overweight and ignore it, but this will have a damaging effect on your child in many ways including their physical health, mental health and self-esteem.

If your child feels bad about themselves they can comfort eat to make themselves feel better, so leading to them being more overweight - this creates a vicious circle.

You are responsible for your child's health and well-being, this includes what they eat. A healthy balanced diet (see the eatwell plate opposite) and exercise is the simple answer to many worries about being overweight.

Try to have family outings which include walking and cycling so you can all get fitter together. Being active burns more energy and the body then starts to use up its fat stores.

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