Too fat already in childhood?
Early in life, too many children suffer from overweight. This can have various causes. In most cases, there are health consequences. For parents, it is important to know how overweight develops and what can be done about it. Read here what is important for a healthy physical development of your child and how you can influence it.
There are many causes that can lead to childhood obesity, only rarely is it a disease. Too much fat and sugar in food and drinks play a role, and exercise behavior is also an important factor. In addition, family predisposition can contribute to gaining weight faster than other people. Often, however, the causes lie in unhealthy habits: sitting for too long instead of exercising outdoors, for example, snacking in front of the TV or computer, a preference for sweet and high-calorie drinks. The Corona pandemic, with closed daycare centers, schools and sports facilities, has done its bit to further increase the number of overweight children.
A major danger is that the excess weight developed in childhood can no longer be gotten rid of, or can only be gotten rid of with great difficulty. The health consequences can lead to diseases that affect the entire life: These include diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, the development of fatty liver and respiratory disorders. Pain in hip and knee joints, as well as deformities of the joints, are also often due to excessive weight. Overweight girls often reach puberty earlier, and overweight boys later. In addition, obesity can cause menstrual irregularities in girls and enlargement of the breasts in boys.
Prejudice, ridicule and teasing about figure and weight are not uncommon among children and young people. In our society, thin people are considered beautiful, attractive, fit and efficient. Fat people, on the other hand, are seen as sluggish, unathletic and less capable. This stigmatization is felt early on by children. It is not uncommon for them to be exposed, to experience exclusion, insults and bullying. This happens at school, in clubs, in their free time and increasingly on social media channels. As a result, mental health suffers: while frustration grows, self-confidence declines. Psychological problems and even depressive symptoms can be the result. Parents are particularly challenged in this situation to support their child empathetically and to look for solutions together.
Diets and too much pressure do not help to change bad habits in the long run. As a parent, you nevertheless have many adjusting screws to counteract your child's overweight and promote healthy development.
First of all, look at your eating habits:
Medical advice about the extent of overweight and any risks for secondary diseases and treatment programs can be obtained from your pediatrician and adolescent doctor's office..
If your child is being excluded and bullied at school, it is best to contact the appropriate teachers first and foremost. The Schulpsychologischer Dienst and school counseling centers also help..
If you have psychological problems, you can seek advice and help from child and adolescent psychologists. Also parent and family counseling centers can be first points of contact.
The info phone of the Federal Center for Health Education BZgA is also available to concerned parents around all questions about obesity in children. The consultants can be reached at 0221 892031 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. In the initial consultation, you will receive information, guidance and addresses of other contact points.