Pediatric obesity is a precursor to type 2 diabetes
Childhood obesity is a very complex disease. Children, like adults, come in different shapes and sizes. They have unique genetic makeup, caloric and nutritional requirements, as well as taste preferences, sensitivities, and allergies.
They may also have varying access to food, different family financial situations, and a wide range of caregivers. These are just a few of the variables that can impact weight.
The risk of childhood obesity has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, in part due to reduced physical activity and increased social isolation. This problem is multi-faceted as obese children may be at increased risk of infection with COVID-19.
Obese children are also at increased risk of developing other health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The search for ways to prevent and treat pediatric obesity is ongoing and complex. One way for parents to take initiative is to involve their children more in the kitchen. It may seem like an overwhelming task and another thing for you to do, but it can be simple and effective.
This article will discuss the risks of childhood obesity for type 2 diabetes and other conditions, as well as ways to involve children in food preparation.
Childhood obesity may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obese children are more likely to have:
When a child’s weight puts them at increased risk for developing health problems, it is important to take the initiative to make changes to improve a child’s health.
Most children should never be dieted. Instead, intervention strategies generally work on modifying behavior for weight maintenance so that children can reach their weight. Health professionals can help you make positive changes to improve your child’s health.
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states, “In addition to the positive impact on nutrient intake and habits, family meals can also positively contribute to children’s nutritional beliefs and attitudes and have an association inverse with the onset and persistence of obesity. “
Food has more of an impact than weight
Food is not just about weight. Food is an experience; it connects us to the memory of a person or a place. Creating a healthy relationship with food from an early age helps children become good eaters later in life.
Healthy diets, such as eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy products, and fish, have been associated with longevity and reduced all-cause mortality.
One of the ways to increase positive emotions and increase the intake of vegetables, for example, is to have children to help with meal preparation.
In fact, one study found that a higher frequency of helping with food preparation and cooking at home was associated with a higher preference for fruits and vegetables and greater self-efficacy in choosing. and eat healthy foods.
In an inter-subject experiment, the researchers separated the children aged 6 to 10 into two groups. In the first group, the children prepared a midday meal with the help of a parent; in group two, the meal was prepared by the single parent.
The researchers found that the children who helped their parents cook ate significantly more vegetables (salad, in particular), and they also reported a significant increase in feelings of valence (positive feeling) and dominance (feeling of control).
How to involve children
Children of all ages can participate in the purchase, planning and preparation of meals. Having children help in the kitchen promotes feelings of independence and positivity, and can promote a healthy relationship with food, while improving eating habits.
Depending on the age of the children, the appropriate skills will vary. Children between the ages of 2 and 5 can enjoy preparing simple foods, such as peeling basil leaves, turning salad, and washing vegetables.
Children aged 6 to 8 can learn more sophisticated skills such as breaking eggs and stirring or turning food, and children aged 8 to 10 can begin to learn to use the devices safely.
As children grow older they can become more independent and perform recipes independently or with little supervision.
Children who are obese are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems. The treatment and prevention of childhood obesity is complex. A simple but effective way to increase positive feelings while improving nutritional intake is to involve children in the kitchen.
A word from Verywell
Childhood obesity has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents and guardians have concerns and are looking for support and the best way to guide their children.
A place to start is cooking and involving children in preparing healthy meals for the whole household. Having an extra helping hand can also help bonding parents, caregivers, and loved ones.