These days, there is an increase in number of obese children. It is a plight faced by a number of parents these days. There are various reasons which are responsible for this problem. It is best to arrest the problem at the right age, rather than, let it grow out of proportion later…
Till very recent times, only adults were fighting belly fat problems, which were attributed to a sedentary lifestyle, little or total lack of exercise, eating unhealthy foods, eating at irregular times, etc. However, off late it is not uncommon to see belly fat in children. More and more children are facing this problem and according to research the problem has increased by a staggering 65% in the last few years. This is not the best sign, as it can be a harbinger of a number of ailments and the problem may spiral into obesity and related problems, which may become hard to tackle in the later years.
Causes of Belly Fat in Children
If one has to really dwell deep into the subject, one will see that only belly fat is not the problem with children. Along with belly fat, there is fat accumulation all over the body. However, it is belly fat which is prominently seen. We should be aware of the fact that all the calorie rich food is converted into fat and stored in different parts of the body, most importantly around the belly. The same is the case with all the excess calories consumed. Most children end up eating a lot of junk (obviously high in calories), which is the primary cause of the problem.
Apart from consuming a lot of junk food, the diet of children is not rich in nutrients, which is also responsible for fat accumulation. Often parents do not have the necessary amount of time to whip up a fresh and unprocessed meal for their child. Consumption of a lot of processed food also attributes to the accumulation of belly fat. Also, we cannot forget that processed food is stripped off all its nutrient value, therefore kids end up consuming only empty calories.
As kids we would be running around our houses, climbing trees or cycling in the neighborhood. However, this is just a scene from the past. We hardly hear kids playing or hear their banter these days, because most of them are glued to their TV sets or to the computer screens or their PlayStation. They step out of their homes only when it is time to go to school or to socialize. In other words, most of the kids are also leading a sedentary lifestyle these days. Lack of exercise is one of the primary causes of belly fat.
Getting Rid of Belly Fat in Children
As parents, the first change that needs to be made to eliminate belly fat is to reduce their consumption of unhealthy food. The quotient of nutrient rich food has to be upped. For the first few days, you will see that the children may rather be stubborn and refuse to eat the food given to them. However, if you are a little strict with them, they will be left with no option but to eat the food given to them. Eventually, they will take a liking to healthy, nutrient rich food. Also you will want to talk to them about the importance of consuming healthy food.
You will have to choose rather interesting and healthy options for their meals. If your child loves pizza, then instead of opting for the store bought pizza, you may choose to make one using whole grain flour and top it with a number of vegetables and lean meat, just to ensure that they eat healthy food. Similarly, you can try to whip up some other interesting, yet healthy meals for them.
Try to disguise a lot of physical activity in the daily schedule for your children. Walking the dog, washing the car, etc., are some of the activities which can be assigned to them and prove to be of great help in losing belly fat. You may want to assign certain household chores to your children which will give them some amount of physical activity.
Alternately, you may also include some family activity in the weekly schedule. Some of the family activities can be going for family bicycle rides, trekking, natural trails, etc. This will not only be a source of entertainment, but it also give them much-needed exercise. At the same time, it will give the family a lot of time together. You may want to check a sport activity which your child enjoys the most and get him/her enrolled for the same.
There are some exercise options which can be included in your child’s daily routine. You may want to enroll the child for a couple of swimming sessions every week. It is one of the simplest methods to shed excess fat. Most children enjoy dancing. Children can be enrolled for some dance activity, through which will they not only learn dance, but also get rid of accumulated belly fat.
When you are dealing with abdominal fat in children, it is important ‘not’ to give them a restrictive diet, as it may cause nutrient deficiency in your children. Always encourage them to eat healthy food and set up an example for them to follow it. Before I end this write up, I will like to bring it to your notice, that children are bound to have some amount of baby fat, which often goes away on its own, as they grow up. However, if you notice any health complication, then it is best to consult a pediatrician for the same and not try to self treat the problem.