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How to deal with obesity in children

By Jacquiline Nakandi

Added 12th April 2016 03:14 PM

“We no longer use a car to take her to school because of her overweight; we are scared that each day she gains weight. The only option now is taking her to school on foot,” says Namutebi.

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“We no longer use a car to take her to school because of her overweight; we are scared that each day she gains weight. The only option now is taking her to school on foot,” says Namutebi.


Sarah Namutebi a resident of Makindye Lukuli, says when she received the news of her first pregnancy she was overwhelmed. “The thought of something growing inside me and the excitement of being a mother was the best feeling ever,” she says.

“Angela weighed two kilograms at birth, she was a normal baby but surprising at 6 years she weighs 38kilograms. I did not notice it until she complained about her friends at school, every morning Angela cried saying she did not want to go to school that fellow pupils laugh and call her funny names.

“We no longer use a car to take her to school because of her overweight; we are scared that each day she gains weight. The only option now is taking her to school on foot,” says Namutebi.

Causes

Peterson Kato Kikomeko, a nutrition lecturer at Kyambogo University, says obesity and overweight in all age categories depends on the energy intake and how it is spent.

When it comes to energy expenditure, there is eating but which activities is someone engaged in. “ You find that some good schools lack play grounds for children to have ample exercise and when they are back home, watching television becomes the order of the day. Meaning children do less or no exercise at all,” he says.

Kikomeko, adds that to have a weight balance, what a person eats should be in balance with what they spend.

Today we are experiencing nutrition transaction where people are shifting from unrefined to refined foods.

Kikomeko, says refined foods contain a lot of fats, salt and are high in calories.

“The increased uncontrolled advertisements on television and billboard on streets has too contributed to obesity and over weight in children,” he adds.

However, he notes that sometimes it is in genes, but as nutritionist we can help to advice but not much.
 

How it can be dealt with

 “Care takers should think about healthier food choices for children, feeding them on less unnecessary fatty foods, calories, sugars, beverage drinks and so on,” he advices.

Kikomeko advises parents to include vegetables, fruits, water and less of the refined foods on children’s diet.

He said that it is the parents and the child care taker to avail an opportunity for the child to engage in some physical energy required exercises. “Playing with children not only helps them but the parent as well,” he says.

 Effects

Besides the health risks, children face social psychological torture, Kikomeko says while in class, they are called names, which may lead to loss of interest in studying and being with friends.

Diseases like diabetes, high blood sugar, cancer, heart related diseases among others are likely to attack a person in an obese or over weigh condition.

Besides having a miserable life, it incurs medication expenses and sometimes results to death.   

 

Holes created by leaf chewing insects

 

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