Experts say more than three-quarters of overweight kids will be overweight adults
Prague, — Childhood obesity has been on the rise in Europe, including the Czech Republic where it is a serious problem that must be solved, Martin Fried, president of the 22nd European Congress on Obesity, which ended in Prague today, has told the Czech News Agency.
The main tools to fight childhood obesity are prevention at home and at school and public health education, he said in an interview with the Czech News Agency.
In exceptional cases, obese adolescents can undergo a bariatric surgery, reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach, Fried added.
Thirteen percent of Czech children from six to 10 years suffer from obesity or overweight and in the age group of 11-15 years, it is 14 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls.
Only 22 of the adults who were overweight in childhood have a normal weight, while the remaining 78 suffer from overweight the whole life. Consequently, they face a higher risk of diabetes, heart attack and cancer.
“Obesity occurrence depends on lifestyle a lot. Bariatric operations of children are not performed at all, and they are only exceptionally applied to adolescents,” Fried said.
Psychologist Zuzana Douchová points out that children learn by imitating.
If their parents do not show them a healthy lifestyle, it is difficult to them to change it when they grow up. In other words, if parents want their children to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, they must serve as role models, she said.
In addition, children should participate in the preparation of daily meals and go to buy food with their parents.
It is also a mistake to reward or punish children with food, since it would thereby get an unhealthy emotional aspect in their mind. Children should be offered a varied diet, but no foodstuffs should be strictly banned, experts say.
Children are very vulnerable, and this is why they should not be criticized for their either too slim or overweight figure. Otherwise, they can develop a negative stance on themselves, which might lead to a self-destructive behavior, Douchová said.