Do worry your child is gaining weight? Does childhood obesity rush through your thoughts? Do you begin to try to control your child’s food intake and choices only to be met with anger and confrontation?
Dealing with childhood obesity is a complicated process. There are many factors that a parent has to contend. Some concerns have more to do with the parents own issues about weight. At times, these can be projected on to a child who is predisposed for weight gain.
The definition of childhood obesity ‘s hard to describe. A conventional explanation of childhood obesity is the individual having a body mass index greater than the 95th percentile of children of similar age, height, and gender. Some parents get upset when their child gains weight because they have had their eating disorders. A range of factors including genetic and environmental can contribute to Childhood obesity.
Developmental Factors Contributing to Childhood Obesity.
Various developmental factors may have an effect on childhood obesity. The manner in which a child grows may influence the tendency to gain weight. This can start in infancy. Studies have shown colorations that overweight babies at early months of age had a more likelihood for carrying more body weight at age 7.
Diet Effects of Childhood Obesity
The effects of eating habits on childhood obesity are unclear. Studies that evaluated dietary change did not bring about the desired effect of curbing childhood obesity. Reasons have been attributed to the change not being sufficient to offset to the child’s biology.
Genetics of Childhood Obesity
Genetically, combinations of differences in genes controlling appetite and metabolism predispose certain individuals to obesity when they eat more calories than their bodies need. Other people without the genetic predisposition can eat similar amounts of food and may become overweight but not obese. As such, obesity is a major feature of some rare genetic conditions that often present in childhood.
Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which the body contains excess amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone. Researchers have found that in some children associations between growth hormone and excess cortisol exacerbate insulin resistance which can contribute to hypoglycemia. It seems that insulin resistance is due to an overload of glucose over an extended period of time. The insulin receptors in cells are hypothesized not to respond to insulin. The lack of functioning of the insulin receptors in the membrane of cells, the blood sugar level rises and result in more insulin being produced, lowering the glucose levels. As a result, the child can have an excess of insulin which is hyperglycemia. As a result, the bodies insulin receptors are willing or forced to accept more glucose. The high insulin and glucose levels bring on a crash in energy level as well as causing the excess glucose to be stored in the body as glycogen, These sugars that have nowhere to go. They become glycogen and then are converted to fat deposited in fat cells.
Another genetic factor that can play a role in childhood obesity is Leptin. Leptin is a chemical hormone produced by fat cells notifies the hypothalamus of the brain degree of hunger the person is feeling as well as signaling the individual that they have had enough food.
When a child struggles with obesity, the receptors in the brain cells do not function correctly. The leptin does not respond so the fat cells send out more hormone and the child does not receive the feeling of being full. Unfortunately, overweight children have high concentrations of leptin in their blood. The concept could also suggest that children who struggle with obesity are similar to children with diabetes because the hypothalamus does not receive messages to stop eating and the individual keeps eating much beyond what their body can use. This is not unlike the story with insulin—resistance to hormonal messages.
Emotional Effects of Childhood Obesity.
Stress can influence a child’s eating habits. Others often tease children who suffer from being overweight or obesity. Teasing can bring about feelings of anxiety or depression. Many children eat to medicate to deal with these uncomfortable feelings, which naturally only exacerbate the problems.
Recommended Resources for Parents
Raising a Happier Healthier Eater: A Parent’s Handbook: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Getting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating
Five Star Review
This is an award-winning non-fiction book for parents who have trouble with their child’s eating. The authors are both experts in the field of food and children and are attentive to your child’s developmental level. A child’s developmental level is important because taste buds develop children go through stages of eating particular foods. Often parents push foods that are not right for a child at a developmental stage.
A comprehensive guide for parents More Stress on Picky Eaters
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