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Prevention is Better than Cure – Obesity And BMI

Any Hollywood movie in recent times has at least one scene where the hero flaunts his six-pack abs, and the lead lady exhibits her dashboard abs. However, not everyone in this world possesses the same body structure and maybe the main reason, heroes and heroines are recognized as a brand or face representing all males and females.

A majority of the population are interested in their health in the form of life insurances and investment for retirement. But when it comes to physical activity, they skip citing numerous reasons. This reason can be touted as one of the main causes why adults and children in developed as well as developing countries suffer from various health problems such as high blood pressure, heart ailments, diabetes, and obesity. Here, in this article, we will focus on understanding what exactly obesity is and how and why it needs to be controlled.

What is Obesity?

Obesity can be best described as the body accumulating more fat when adults or children consume more energy-based foods than what is required for their body.

Obesity is best measured by means of BMI or Body Mass Index. It is measured by the percentage of body fat depending on the weight in accordance with height. However, for children and teens (age 2 – 20), obesity is best measured by means of BMI percentile. The status of a child being obese or in the best of health can be determined by using a sex-age specific percentile from the BMI categories.

Kindly make use of the calculator provided by CDC to know about the health and weight levels of a child. Compare the result with the chart given. The result will inform if a child is obese or is in the best of health.

Weight status category Percentile range
Underweight Less than the 5th percentile
Healthy weight 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile
Overweight 85th to less than the 95th percentile
Obese Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile

Note: Table taken from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/what-is-bmi-2.php

For further clarification, have a look into the growth charts below:

Prevention is Better than Cure – Obesity And BMI

Some of the major reasons for obesity in children are binging on unhealthy foods, consumption of high fat foods, no exercise, and at times, genetics.

The requirement of excellent strategies for regulation plans to manage obesity in children is a topic discussed in international health conferences around the world.

The extra fat in the body can give rise to health risks, either during the same age or in the teenage years. Studies have revealed that nearly sixty percent of overweight children in the age of 5 to 17 were found to be related with a cardiovascular disease. But the major challenge is many of the obese children have eighty percent chance of staying obese all their entire life. This is why prevention is always better than cure. Let us know why in the section below.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure – Why?

New drugs and other procedures have emerged to combat the health factors associated with obesity in children, but they are expensive and still more research has to be done when it comes to side effects.

A sedentary lifestyle, comprising of watching too much television and playing video games, which are just a few of the “no movement” activities children are involved in, are some of the factors which have contributed to the cause of obesity in children. It is very difficult to bring about a change suddenly in the environment and parents should take care to decrease the time they spent on these activities. The first step is to limit the television viewing time during weekends or after dinner. To curb the habit, the family elders can play fun games with children.


A strict diet or “hunger therapy” can rarely work on children. Children are still in the early phase of understanding life and these steps can be met with little success or total failure. Children may find the technique embarrassing, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. The parents may find side effects in the form of low immunity, anger, and disrespect towards society.

But, changes in diet can be made by inclusion of the children’s favourite fruit or homemade salads or recipes which contain more vegetables and fruits rather than having calorie rich snacks in the dining table. Children always imitate adults and if the elders bring about a change in their dietary pattern, the child will soon follow.

However, it is necessary that before following a diet plan, advice has to be taken from a certified professional. They may be able to give guidelines on the vegetables and fruits having the necessary nutrients so that the obese child does not suffer from fatigue or any kind of side effects.

Importance of Physical Activity

It is necessary to make the children realize the importance of remaining physically active at a young age. If the parents and grandparents have a daily exercise routine, then the child will follow the same line and remain healthy.

However, in some homes, the parents will be working professionals and very rare will they spend time together. And physical activity? Kindly note, the physical activity should be chosen based on the child’s interest. There are also other ways of simple exercises such as brisk walking, dancing, or play team games such as cricket or volleyball to burn the extra calories. Consistency is the key factor, and following a strict rigorous exercise regime at least for the first six months can help curb piling of more fats.

It is a challenging task to make a child who is interested in video games and TV proms indulge in outdoor games. Any form of exercise has a time schedule to reap the best benefits and morning is the best option. Remember, in the same time, children have to rush to school.


It has been found that an obese child is prone to bouts of depression, lack of self-esteem etc. Agreed, it is very difficult to offer treatment in various types to the obese child, as modifications in lifestyle and behavioral changes are required. However, with suitable contribution from the parents, teachers and well-wishers it is possible to bring about a complete change of events so that the obese child becomes fit, hale and hearty.

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