The World’s biggest challenge today on the health side is obesity. On one hand there is a large population which suffers from malnutrition or undernutrition. On the other hand, the world is increasingly turning fat. Till now we thought that being overweight or obese was associated only with adults. However, this global epidemic is not just restricted to adults alone. Surprisingly, children are as overweight as their parents or other adults.
There have been so many surveys and studies which are being done across various countries. This includes the World Health Organization as well as government agencies of different countries. The story is the same across nations. It has been seen that almost one in every three persons below the age of sixteen has been found to be overweight across the globe. This rate is actually increasing. Imagine a young population which is already overweight. All the diseases we get after fifty or sixty, they will probably get after thirty or even before. This trend has already started.
If this is such a big problem, then why are parents not concerned? We may think that parents would be bothered about their children and take steps to rectify the problem. However, the reverse is true. Parents seem to feel scared to talk about weight to their children or point it out to them. Studies have shown that parents are as inhibited with children to talk about diet and obesity as they are about sex education.
There are so many misconceptions about parenting, nutrition, diet habits and lifestyle management, that more often than not, parents themselves are totally clueless. This is only one of the reasons why parents feel scared to talk about this aspect to children.
The problem starts with parents themselves. Today’s parents also do not eat correctly. Having junk food or food which is good for taste takes priority over a balanced diet plan. Convenience, taste and lack of control are the guiding factors for adults and parents when it comes to personal food choices. Children grow up imitating parents. That is one of the reasons parents feel scared to talk about it. They fear that their children may turn around and ask them why they eat in the same way or why they are also overweight. You do not want to preach what you do not practice.
Parents have this misconception that one should not talk about diet control as children may eat less. They feel children will be offended or may have self esteem issues if we talk about eating less. This is totally incorrect. It is actually the parent’s ego which is preventing them. Children are very receptive if you explain correctly. If you are not able to incorporate healthy eating habits, then who will guide these children?
Another important concern area is that in most cultures, parents actually feel that being fat is a sign of being well fed or healthy. In many cases, mothers force their children to eat beyond capacity from an early age. Later on when they see their kids, they just rationalise, stating it is their normal structure. If children are thin and someone comments, parents feel guilty. So rather than raising healthy children, parents are focused on raising fat children so their ego does not suffer. It is the selfishness of parents which is making their kids fat.
Further, we need to understand that thin does not mean unhealthy. In fact, it is better to be thin with no health problems, than being fat. With current lifestyles it is very important for parents to talk about nutrition and health and having balanced diet plans to avoid future problems. Of course, this would work only if the parents themselves are healthy. If you are fat, your children would probably not listen to you. To overcome this problem, parents should first start practicing online yoga programs for weight loss.
Childhood fat and obesity causes a lot of problems in later life even though after growing up, an individual becomes thin or starts exercising. A fat child (who later becomes thin) will still be more prone to stress, obesity and lifestyle diseases at an early stage in life.