Childhood obesity: the causes of the problem and how to fight it

Childhood obesity in Italy and in the world presents worrying data, albeit slightly lower than in the past. Overweight children have increased in recent years mainly due to an unbalanced diet, which in some crucial moments of growth can affect a particular way on future health. One of the causes of children's obesity is in fact the unbalanced diet, not tailored for them, which could lead to serious consequences for health. Obviously, the diet does not mean the slimming one, but simply the eating habits that should correspond to the daily requirement, to be commensurate with the different ages of growth.

Some data on childhood obesity

A recent research by OKkio alla Salute, a surveillance system promoted by the Ministry of Health, provided some data on childhood obesity in Italy. but to date there are still 20 per cent of overweight children and 9 per cent of obese children.The highest concentration of childhood obesity is in the central and southern regions.

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What are the causes of obesity in children?

Studies on childhood obesity around the world have shown that one of the main causes of this phenomenon is an unbalanced diet in some crucial moments of growth. Various studies have revealed a link between the excess of proteins consumed in certain phases of the child's life and "Future obesity as adults. Children and adults are often obese because they have consumed too much protein in relation to their needs, especially in the most sensitive stages of growth such as the first 1000 days of life. The example of a typical case of taking too much protein compared to the requirement is the use of cow's milk instead of specific milk for children, in case the mother's milk is lacking or not enough. This milk is not very suitable in the growth phases, because it has a high content of protein and a low iron content. Taking into account that children from 1 to 3 years old need 4 times more iron in relation to their weight than an adult, and less proteins, you immediately understand how the milk in question is not the most suitable. Therefore many experts recommend the administration of cow's milk only after the baby is 24 months old.

According to the scholar David Barker, and according to the theory of Nutritional Programming, the first thousand days of a child's life are crucial, as regards his future health. Breastfeeding, a balanced diet from weaning, and before that, a mother's balanced diet during pregnancy will help lay the foundations for a healthier future and can help prevent chronic disease.

Childhood obesity: how to fight it?

To combat childhood obesity, the first obstacle is the perception of parents. Very often mothers do not realize that a child is moving towards obesity, or think that being overweight is not a big problem. OKkio alla Salute's study reveals that only 38 percent of mothers of overweight children realize their child is obese or overweight, and only 29 percent think their child overeates. As for the sedentary lifestyle, only 41 percent of mothers believe that their child does little physical activity.

We must therefore first of all fight the perception of the parents. It is however necessary to introduce a balanced diet, with an intake of nutrients commensurate with the needs of children in the different stages of growth. Having physical activity is also a good thing, as well as obviously reducing sugars, salt and hydrogenated fats from children's diets.

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