Treatment of obesity during childhood and adolescence

The principal aim is to avoid the child becoming and obese adult, and that they acquire correct lifestyle and eating habits.

In the treatment of obesity in children, education is key, teaching the younger population to eat more healthily and encourage them to take more physical exercise.  Given that childhood is the stage when eating habits and lifestyles are established, and that children look to their parents in this period as role models, it´s vital to get the whole family to improve their habits, to follow a balanced diet and take sufficient physical exercise.

When the whole family joins in and helps with the changes in lifestyle and diet, the results in the treatment of obesity are better. Parents are responsible for the foods consumed at home, a regular schedule should be established for meals, and once seated at the table, parents should set a good example by choosing healthy foods.

The aim shouldn´t always be to lose weight, because growth is continuous throughout childhood and adolescence, so there will be an increase in height and weight, but if a stable weight can be maintained, the increase in height will correct obesity over time.

The earlier treatment for excess weight is started, the better, because the longer it develops, the greater the risk that it will persist into adulthood.

It is also easier to change bad habits in younger children, as that is when they are developing their personalities and patterns of behaviour.

Because being overweight is the road to obesity, and there are consequences for the physical health of those who suffer from it.

Obesity can cause mobility problems, breathing difficulties and skin disorders as well as sleep disorders, etc. There is also a greater probability of developing diabetes, hypertension, and altered levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, etc., as well as the occurrence of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, thrombosis, etc.), significantly lowering a person´s quality of life and life expectancy.

Also because obesity has consequences for a child´s emotional health: low self-esteem, social isolation, discrimination, and even abnormal eating behaviour that may contribute to, together with other factors, the onset of eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa.

Finally, because it can be treated, and the prize is an improvement in the overweight person´s health and wellbeing.

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