Pediatric obesity should be treated?
Approximately 30% of obese children will lead to obesity in adults.(in terms of age, 14% of obesity in infants at 6 months old,
41% of obesity in children at 7 years old and approximately 70% of obesity in children at 10~13 years old lead to obesity in adults)
It is known that obese people have high risk in occurrence of various adult diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension,
myocardial infarction, diabetes, a fatty liver and hyperlipidemia. Children with obesity may not only lead to adults with obesity
but such adult diseases may also occur in the childhood period.
In addition, obese children suffer from significant mental stress such as shame of their fatness and ridicule of friends, resulting
in lack of confidence and disorder of emotional development. Therefore, early treatment is desirable.
Three components which are the most important in treatment of childhood obesity are dietary therapy, exercise program and
improvement on behavioral habits. Unlike adults, medicinal therapy or surgical treatment is not recommended.
Dietary Therapy in Obese Children
- Kinds of food are selected upon dietary therapy based on age and degree of obesity of children. You have to make sure that
amount of proteins and vitamins required for growth should be included.
- The proportion of 3 nutrients is as follows: 50% carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 30% fat. It should be a balanced diet.
- Dietary therapy with low calorie is helpful to induce weight loss, but regular exercise, improvement on behavioral habits and
active cooperation in family and school play an important role.
Fasting for a day and skipping breakfast will not be helpful
- It is desired that an obese child and all family members should reduce it by 20~30%, and proteins required for balanced
nutritional state and growth should be given and carbohydrates and fat should be limited.
- If it is difficult to calculate the proper calories, it would be good to have a meal with large volume and low calorie, and not
to overeat it in afternoon or dinner.
- It would be good to change the diet into low fat food and feed fat-free lean meat, light-colored meat, fish, chicken,
fresh vegetables, baked potato without butter instead of processed foods such as cream, mayonnaise and hamburgers which
they usually eat and high-fat foods such as cookies.
- It is recommended to sufficiently eat dietary fibers such as fruit and vegetable intake, such as dietary fiber. Since bowel
movement is promoted by increasing the volume of foods in intestine, it will be helpful for constipation which commonly
occurs upon dietary therapy.
- It is important for the method to eat food. Whenever you eat, you put the spoon down and chew it slowly. Thus, you will feel
satiety so that you will eat it less.
Exercise therapy for obese children
- For exercise therapy, exercise increasing the consumption of oxygen and using large muscles of the limbs such as walking,
running, biking, climbing stairs and swimming are desirable. In addition, it is effective to let children do their favorite exercise.
- It is more important to do exercise consistently rather than do exercise very hard. When you begin to do exercise, you should
do exercise as hard as you do not feel fatigue or pain on the next day.
- The frequency of exercise is 3 ~ 5 in a week. 50~60% of exercise which children can withstand is adequate for children as
the maximum amount of exercise. Time to exercise is 15 minutes in the beginning and it will be increased up to 30~40 minutes.
- In addition, behavior habits such as watching television for a long time, computer games and lying down after a meal are
reduced. It is also good to have friends who enjoy outdoor activities.
Improvement on behavior habits of obese children
- It is necessary to encourage children to write foods that they eat and activities of a day on a daily log by themselves or together
with their parents.
- It is important that parents encourage children to strive for weight loss in a week with their interest. It is helpful to give a
reward or praise when they achieve the goal of weight loss.
- It is effective to replace the behavior of eating foods besides meal time with other behaviors. For example, if a child opens
the refrigerator and eats snack as soon as he comes back home, you encourage a child to change the habits to do favorite
exercise or game.
- A child is encouraged to eat food on dining table and is not allowed to eat it while he is studying or watching television.
- A child is allowed to eat a meal and snack in designated time and it is helpful to drink water or eat the soup prior to a meal.
In addition, encourage a child to have a habit to rise up from the table as soon as he finishes the foods.