Conditions

Obesity

Obesity

Few health subjects are more in the headlines these days than obesity, and kids from all backgrounds are just as much at risk as adults. In 2008 the NHS reported that one in four children in reception classes were overweight or obese and it’s estimated that if current trends continue, by 2020 a fifth of all kids will be obese.

Fatty foods, a high sugar intake and not enough exercise all contribute to the problem, which is not only damaging for children now, but may store up other problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, for later life. The incidence of type 2 diabetes, which used to be associated only with adults, is increasing now in teenagers as a direct result of obesity.

So how do you know if your child is really obese, or just carrying the ordinary fat that affects all children? Obesity in adults is measured on the Body Mass Index (BMI), which compares weight to height. Kids, of course, are constantly growing so the BMI isn’t quite so simple. Your doctor can perform a BMI test for kids, and also measure your child’s weight against a national average to assess whether they are obese.

If the answer is yes, the first thing to look at is diet and general eating habits. Crisps, chocolate bars, biscuits, snacks and fast food contain a lot of fat and sugar and not much fibre. This, combined with insufficient exercise, will cause kids to pile on the pounds. Change their eating habits to include more fresh fruit and veg (they should be getting the famous ‘five-a-day’) and take more exercise, maybe in conjunction with the rest of the family. Experts suggest that rather than suddenly changing their diet dramatically, work out with them what they really like. That way they are more likely to actually eat it.

Obesity doesn’t just introduce physical problems in kids. If your child is being teased or bullied for being overweight, there’s an emotional impact too. Being overweight may make them feel depressed. The important thing to remember is that childhood obesity is easily reduced by simply eating better and taking exercise, and that if kids are introduced to healthy eating habits when they are young, they will carry them through the rest of their lives.

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Comments and Questions

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Im 15 and i am overweight, and all my life I have been bullied about it, im about 13 stone, nearly 14,&i just need help in what i can do to loose the weight, because i have tried and its just not working ..I also feel i get very depressed from being so big& and do either sleep or eat more& i just really hope you can understand the pain im going through because being this big really puts my confidence down.& as I get older I want to be wearing clothes my friends can wear.so please reply to me and help me with dieting ideas because I really cannot do it by myself x





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Im 14 years old.I seem to try & lose weight all the time but it never really works the more i dies & do exercise i some how still gain weight. Id do anything to lose weight quickly but somehow it seems impossible. I get called fat a lot of the time at school so i just want to show i can lose weight & feel happy in my own body. I dont want to try surgery or tablets i just want an easy way of losing weight fast!





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Pls am 16 years old I am upset that am gaining weight everyday. I am trying to loss weight but my body is still the same am now experiencing knee problems I do feel like my knees are breaking I can't work properly now PLEASE HELP





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I'm a 14 year old boy, and im 5'5. In weigh around 11 stone, or 70kg. I know im overweight but by how much?Also what do I do to lose it - im always out doing sport, and my diet is normal (I dont eat much fatty foods)





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I'm 13 and I weigh 78kg so I'm obese , but my height makes me look less fat, I read that 50-60kg is Healthy weight

my daughters age is 11. She weighs 23 stone and She is 4 foot tall. she is a girl. every time she gets dressed me and her dad have to push in her fat and at a sleep over her friends and there parents have to help. her fat sticks out so much. She takes up 2 seats at school. she has to have her clothes specialy made. She eats constantly and can barly walk.she can't do pe. she feels so self conscious She dosen't go out. her doctor couldn't help because she didn't want surgery what should I do.





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she has already dropped a lot of fat and is eighteen stone

she is wearing clothes bigger than me. she is now even fatter her doctor thinks she needs surgery. I think I could stop that with help. she has her school uniform made specialy. when she looks down she only sees her belly. it is massively hard because she has Asperger's syndrome.

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I am 13 and 55kg my belly sticks out and my mum is constantly having to help me button my pants and exercise. My belly gets in the way. Yesterday my mum called the doctor over and he examined my fat he said I was bordering obesity. I don't know what to do please help! I'm tired of my family having to hold in my belly for me I just wish it was flat





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go to the experience project and onto personal trainer101's profile and I will post weight loss exercise routines.

I fell the same way my bellie is massive it is biger than a beach ball my doctor said and he dosent lie welcome to the fat club

my son is 4 years 4 months and is 4 stone help ! ?





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secretly make changes to his diet and play with him so he has to move

Hello im 16 im 5.6 and im nearly 16 stones im very worried about my weight i've tried everything but i just cant lose it im really worried because im started to get a lot more health problems and I've started getting really depressed i really need help!! Can you suggest any else i've tried balanced diets exercise every thing nothing is working helpp please x





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I have only just turned 14 and im a complete midget for my age i weigh 10 stone it makes me feel awful about myself i do bits of exercise but not nearly enough i feel very self concious and get teased at school if u have any dieting ideas i would love to hear them xx





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My son is 12.5 years old and I'm worried about his weight, he's 9.5 stone he tends to eat a load of rubbish to and from school, I keep him on a balanced diet it at home, I'm worried that it will cause health problems if I don't do something soon!





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Have a talk with him about it sit down quietly and follow these steps 1. Pull up his shirt and give his belly a jiggle 2. Say (name) You are getting a little chubby I think its time that we try and help you lose some weight 3. Weigh him make sure you know his exact weight 4. Talk about goals and how much he wants to lose 5. Privately notify the rest of the family many children find weight issues embarrassing and prefer only one person to help them out. By notifing the rest of the family they know to non obviously help him along. 6. Asses progress regularly, eg. Take him into his room and say lets see how that belly is going today. If he has lost weight reward with something (NOT FOOD). I hope he can lose the weight he needs. Enjoy the bulge battle. Don't stress


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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Obesity is when a person is carrying too much body fat for their height and sex. A person is considered obese if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (see box, to the left). Read More »