Child Health

Childhood Obesity

​​​​Obesity in children is a serious medical condition and a global problem. It means that a child’s weight is more than a healthy weight for his height and age. Over time, children are at risk of medical problems that could affect their health in the future.

Reasons for child obesity:
There are many reasons why children suffer from obesity, the most important of which is the energy imbalance during childhood and adolescence, where excess fat accumulates when the total energy production exceeds the total energy consumption. This is usually due to a sedentary lifestyle and insufficient physical activity, but the reasons why children suffer from obesity:
  • Behavioral factors: for example, eating large amounts of food, eating foods full of calories, spending a lot of time in front of electronic devices and lack of physical activity.
  • Environmental factors: easy access to fast food, lack of opportunities for physical activity, lack of parks and playgrounds in some communities.
  • Genetic factors: A child is at risk of obesity when at least one parent is obese. However, genes do not necessarily mean that a child will be overweight. There are many steps a child can take to reduce this risk.
  • Medicines: stimulants, some antidepressants, and others.
  • Medical conditions: hormonal conditions (such as hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiency), Turner syndrome and Down syndrome.

Risk factors:
  • Diet (eg: choosing foods rich in fats and sugars instead of healthy options).
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Using electronic devices and games for hours on end.
  • The dietary pattern of the overweight family.
  • Some rare genetic disorders.

Complications of obesity that affect children (in the long run):
  • Hypertension.
  • Abnormal blood lipid levels.
  • Metabolic syndrome (a condition of insulin resistance associated with high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and obesity).
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Sleep apnea (a recurring disturbance of normal breathing during sleep).
  • Psychological disorders (eg: anxiety and depression).
  • Knee, groin, and hip pain (often associated with a condition called slipped femoral head degeneration)
  • Menstrual disorder.
  • Gallstones.

  • Follow the nutritional instructions, which include:
  • Changing the child's eating behavior.
  • Accustom the child to healthy eating habits.
  • Avoid using the method of reward and punishment with food.
  • Avoid sweetened drinks and soft drinks.
  • Reducing the number of fast foods rich in fat and calories.
  • Avoid eating meals in front of the TV or electronic game screens because they are associated with consuming a larger amount of food and quickly.
  • Encouraging and rewarding the child when he adheres to healthy habits.
  • Avoid constant criticism and encouragement of the child.
  • Organizing the child's meals with their schedule.
  • If the child is a fan of sweets, he can learn homemade ways to make them at home in ways that make them low in fat and calories.
  • Maintaining physical activity daily for 60 minutes a day of the type of moderate intensity (eg: playing football or swimming) and urging and encouraging him to do it.

  • Help the child to maintain a healthy weight.
  • periodic visits to the doctor; To monitor weight and ensure signs of growth properly according to age.
  • Balancing calories, by eating foods that provide adequate nutrition with an appropriate number of calories (consumed from foods and drinks with calories used during physical activity and normal growth).
  • Continuity in following healthy behaviors and a healthy lifestyle by all family members is necessary and necessary for the prevention and treatment of children from obesity or overweight during the stages of growth.
  • Find ways to make favorite dishes healthier and reduce calorie-dense foods.
  • Encouraging the child to eat healthy habits by providing plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grain products.
  • Putting appropriate amounts of food for the child.
  • Encourage the child to drink plenty of water.
  • Limit sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fats.
  • Helping children to exercise physical activity and avoid inactivity.​

Last Update : 15 May 2023 11:16 AM
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