Healthy, plump babies and toddlers are cute, but too much of it can be harmful for them. Child or toddler obesity is beginning to be a major problem and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the problem has doubled in the last 30 years.
One of the signs of obesity in kids is if toddlers find their size and weight too much for them to move around easily. Worse is if they can’t move at all because their weight and body fat keeps them from doing so and all they could do is lie down or sit in their cribs all day. Thus, the lack of activity among toddlers may be a sign that they are beginning to be obese.
What are the Health Risks?
Toddler obesity has serious health risks. Hence, it is vital that they have their regular medical checkups so their weight against their age and height can be monitored well. Here are some health risks we put our kids in if we allow them to be obese:
Poor bone health: Child obesity can lead to joints and bone problems that cause kids to stay inactive. Their heavy weights are just too much for their bone structure to support. If they can move, being overweight may cause problems on their mobility which may make walking, running, and balancing more difficult.
Stress: Sleep apnea is also among the health risks associated with overweight kids. Not getting enough oxygen while sleeping due to breathing disturbances is sometimes caused by obesity in children. As a result, they may suffer stress due to poor sleeping quality and may become irritable.
Adult Obesity: A study showed that obesity during childhood—the kind that starts at age 2 years—can be sustained even until adulthood if not addressed properly. And adult obesity can lead to many debilitating or deadly diseases like heart problems, diabetes or cancer.
Diabetes: There are cases of diabetes, even in children due to obesity. Being overweight, eating more carbohydrates, and inactivity all contribute to an early diabetes diagnosis.
How to Prevent It
The good news is toddler obesity is preventable. It is easier to prevent obesity than deal with it if it’s already there. And preventive measures are easy and simple:
No to sweets: Make sure your toddlers don’t get used to eating sweet foods or too much carbohydrate. A dessert or pastry now and then in small amounts may not hurt, but regular big portions are a definite no-no.
Keep them playing: Toddlers need to play—walk, run, dance, and climb. To them, playing is working and vice versa. It develops their brain and motor skills and exercises them to prevent toddler obesity.
More fruits and vegetables: Instead of food high in carbohydrates, kids get better health results with fruits and vegetables.