Sick obesity affects 7,000 Brazilian children – health
In the last 50 years, Brazil has gone through an interesting development in the field of child nutrition. The country has moved away from a situation where malnutrition was the biggest family challenge at a time when overweight children overcame that old association with health and added to the global epidemic of childhood obesity.
According to a survey conducted by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), in 2019, 16.33% of Brazilian children between the ages of 5 and 10 fell into the category of obesity, as defined by the WHO. The goal of Morbid Obesity Awareness Day, celebrated on Friday (5/3), is to draw society’s attention and awareness to this warning, to promote dialogue and visibility on the relevance and impact of living habits on children’s health.
“In Brazil alone, it is estimated that about 7 million children are overweight, and according to the Ministry of Health, one in 10 Brazilians under the age of 5 are overweight: only 7% are overweight and 3% are already obese,” the nutritionist reported. , Carla Lassarda, a postgraduate in functional nutrition and CEO of Calclab (a platform that performs diagnostic readings on laboratory tests).
What is childhood obesity and when is it sick?
Childhood obesity is characterized by excess body fat in children under 12 years of age, when a child weighs at least 15% more than his or her age reference weight, he or she is considered overweight. BMI (muscle mass index) can also be used to diagnose obesity if the body mass index (BMI) of a 5 to 10 year old child is above 30 kg / m². Sick obesity occurs when this rate exceeds 40 kg / m².
The latest data released by the Ministry of Health indicates that one out of every three children between the ages of 5 and 9 is obese. Obesity and chronic obesity are both caused by excessive accumulation of fat in the body, mainly due to inadequate nutrition, poor living habits and a sedentary lifestyle. It can also come from genetic and hormonal factors.
“Habitually, for parents to have a good idea and understanding, we have a child who weighs 25% more than he deserves for his age. He is already overweight, which is the first warning for obesity. When the weight is above 30%, he is already obese. Considered, “he explained.
What is the cause of this problem?
Obesity is a complex, multifaceted and pro-inflammatory condition associated with a set of determinants, including economic, social, cultural, genetic, environmental and behavioral factors. Related to diet, excessive consumption of sugar, industrial fats, processed and over-processed foods accelerate weight gain.
“In addition, we find that children and adolescents are exposed to unhealthy food advertisements and a sedentary lifestyle and other factors that contribute to the disease picture in children. , And will be an example for an adult child with a bad diet, who will only reproduce what he feels on a regular basis “, warns the expert.
Why is it growing in children?
In Brazil, overweight and obesity rates reflect world standards, with current trends indicating that by 2030 the number of obese children and adolescents will be more than moderate and severe malnutrition, according to a recent study published in the Journal. The Lancet. “The reasons for this increase range from pregnancy and maternal formation. Maternal malnutrition and overweight already affect the unborn baby’s food profile,” Carla explained.
Another problem, nutritionists reiterate, is the failure to adhere to the exclusive breastfeeding until the age of six months, to introduce the baby into an unhealthy food environment even before feeding, and to introduce already industrialized and ultra-processed foods. The first month of life. “Children now have access to these processed, high-calorie foods that are replacing fruits and other natural and healthy foods in their routine.”
According to a recent National Child Food and Nutrition Study, 80% of Brazilian children under the age of 5 consume super-processed foods, such as stuffed cookies, which is also observed in children under 2 years of age. With this excessive use of fats and sugars, there is an imbalance in hormone production and inflammatory processes that lead to weight gain.
As diet changes, so does physical activity. In the past, children were more active and played most of their leisure time. “Today, children spend most of their time on television, computer, cell phone or tablet, for recreation while sitting. It intensifies the habit of sitting, harming their health,” he declared.
Read more: Childhood Obesity: Causes of Weight Gain in Brazilian Children
Can obesity contribute to the emergence of other diseases?
Yes. Excess weight in childhood and adolescence is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and early onset. Obesity and sick childhood obesity are both conditions that can lead to diseases such as:
- High pressure
- High cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
Weight gain among children today will result in significant health costs in the future.
Faced with this situation, the tasks that need to be practiced and thought about to improve this situation, the first step is to identify the child who is overweight. “This is the biggest problem for parents or guardians, because they usually identify when the child is already obese or already overweight. Adults do not pay much attention to this issue until the child is healthy.”
Nutritionists still urge the family, as a whole, to change habits, as the child repeats what the adults around him do, so, if everyone sits at the table, without curtains, with healthy food, if there is a quiet moment. It is good that the child will replicate this behavior and develop a good relationship with food. It is even included in the diet guidelines for the Brazilian population, which advises eating in a calm environment and whenever possible, with caution.
Read more: Hypertension in children and young people, find out the causes
“In addition, a child needs to have a routine. Routine is safe for children and allows them to develop better in a safe environment, where they are aware of activities that will happen on family days, including their play, study time, eating, sleeping, finishing work.” Time creates less excitement and stress “.
One of Karla’s final suggestions is to involve the child in fair shopping and food production from a very young age, giving him or her the opportunity to learn and choose vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Menu for the week.
“Preventive strategies have proven to be the most effective public health intervention to contain this epidemic. A multidisciplinary approach involving dietary changes and the implementation of a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, reducing screen time and behavioral interventions, has been considered the most effective. “, He concluded.
* Internship under the supervision of Sub-Editor Diego Finelli.