The child who is eating, munching and demanding for food items all the time gives a cute impression. The child, who is fat with round body, chubby cheeks, having mouth full bites of the burgers or other fast foods, looks very innocent, cute and lovely. People usually have a look at them with love, even at times; they go and kiss that little child for his cuteness and eating style. That child might be consuming the food all the time and if he does not get it, he gets cranky, throws temper tantrums and ultimately feels low. But we tend to forego such reactions of the child and keep our attention to his cuteness and chubby looks.
This has been proved through researches that children who are overweight tend to consume the food as much as possible whenever they are having emotional difficulties. Food actually serves as a reliever, so the child’s intake gets increased in order to handle the stresses in his daily life. Continuous eating and handling the stresses ultimately lead to obesity. Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased serious physical and mental health issues.
These mental health issues include depression, anxiety, and poor self esteem etc, which in result lead to more stress and the child consumes more food to get out of the stress. Thus, the vicious cycle goes on and on. Recent studies have shown that chronic childhood obesity is associated with depression majorly among boys and in addition to this they tend to be more hostile and defiant as well.
Childhood obesity is associated with a 2.5 times greater likelihood of a disorder known as oppositional defiant disorder, defined as an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, hostile behavior toward authority figures. The disorder is more common in boys, but the researchers found it to be elevated in both boys and girls. Childhood obesity specialist Sarah Barlow, MD, says “a child with defiance disorder is less likely to set limits for himself or follow those set by parents, and this could easily lead to obesity. Barlow is an assistant professor of pediatrics at St. Louis University School of Medicine.
The physically large sized child has to pay social and emotional cost of his weight. The group, from which that overweight or obese child belongs to, tends to ignore and eliminate that child from the group activities which require some physical efforts. Such reactions of the group create stress provoking situations for that obese child, like low self esteem, poor body image and lack of confidence, which he would like to handle through mindless eating again.
Critical statements, bullying and making fun are the social behaviors which these children do usually face due to their overweight. Such social behaviors induce shame in them and they get either depressed or get anxious in their social interactions. To avoid anxiety or any uncomfortable situation they tend to get detached from the social interactions and become more and more isolated.
In if the child continues to gain the weight in the childhood and reaches to adolescence, he tries different ways to deal with his overweight. These are usually unhealthy, like weight loss medicines, smoking, even drugging, excessive crash dieting and exercises even cosmetic surgeries like Botox. Researchers have indicated that, when the teen or adolescent uses the drugs or smoking to reduce the stress related to overweight or obesity, they have the tendency to get hooked up on to the drugs.
The studies have shown that obesity among children has the most stigmatization attached to it. The effects of this weight bias can be seen even years later. Childhood obesity is related to fewer years of education, lower family income, higher poverty rates, and lower marriage rates in later young adulthood. Childhood weight-based stigmatization is associated with a number of undesirable traits and preferring to associate with non-obese peers. Children with more negative attitudes towards weight more likely rate an obese peer negatively and tease and bully children who appear overweight.
Now we should get to know, that what are the possible reasons of the increased rate of the cases of obesity among children all over the world?
As it is known that obesity is a medical problem but it has some psychological and environmental reasons as well. For example:
- Availability of junk food just a phone call away.
- High calorie food in the refrigerators like butters, cheese, soft drinks and cakes, etc.
- Stagnancy in life due to increased inclination towards video games and internet use.
- Unhealthy eating culture at home or in the peer group.
- Late night sittings which require instantly producing energy drinks which are high in calories. (such environments are called Obesenogenric environments which promote unhealthy eating patterns and habits).
- Poor stress coping skills.
- Parental conflicts.
- Failures in academic
To reduce the weight of the child in our family or circle, the above mentioned reasons give us very clear understanding and direction to plan effectively and move in the weight reduction process in the early years of the child, so that s/he can enjoy the mental and physical health in a true sense.