Monday, November 14, 2011

Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity
(Written by Dr.Krishna N. Sharma and Published in The Stethoscope, The Independent Newspaper, Bangladesh on 12 April 2010)

     The childhood obesity, previously known as a disease of the developed countries is now spreading its roots in the developing countries also. W.H.O. has ranked it on the fifth position in the list of risky factors for all the countries. So it is very clear that the Bangladesh is not untouched with it.

    There are more than one causes of the childhood obesity which act together. Its main causes are- Unbalanced diet, sedentary lifestyle, stressful home environment, mental stress etc. Except these it is even a clinical feature of certain diseases like- Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Leptin receptor mutations, Prader-Willi syndrome, Melanocortin receptor mutations, MOMO syndrome and Congenital leptin deficiency etc. A research on 1,520 children of 9-13 years revealed that low level of confidence increases the tendency of over-eating followed by obesity. The North-Western University reported after a study that the risk of obesity increases in the children who sleep late in night.

     Instead of involving any one system the childhood obesity attack on various body systems simultaneously and produces diseases or increase the risk of being affected by diseases. Its effect on various body systems is as follows-

Musculoskeletal- Flat Foot, Back-Ache, Fracture, Tibia Vara, Slipped capital femoral epiphysis etc.
Neurological- Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension etc.
Endocrine- Hypogonadism, Hyperandrogenism, Polycystic Ovary, Impaired glucose tolerance, Diabetes mellitus, Metabolic syndrome etc.
Cardiovascular- Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia,Risk of heart related diseases and Stroke in future etc.
Respiratory- Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome, Obstructive sleep apnea, Asthma, Exercise Intolerance etc.
Gastrointestinal- Constipation, Gall-Stone, Fatty depositions on the liver etc.
Psychosocial- Tension, Low level of confidence, Loneliness, Depression, Eating Disorder etc.

In a study in 2008 it was found that in obese children the cholesterol level was imbalanced and the carotid artery was like any 30 years old person.

        We can assess our children at home to know whether they are in trap of the Childhood Obesity. The standard scale of Obesity is B.M.I. (Body Mass Index). The BMI of your child can be known with the help of an easy calculation (weight/height2). To get it just divide the body weight of your child (k.g.) by height square (meter2). Now you can match the finding with the following scale.

BMI Finding
less than 14.9
from 15 to 18.4
from 18.5 to 22.9
from 23 to 27.5
from 27.6 to 40
Morbidly Obese
Greater than 40

         Any medicine is not prescribed to treat the obesity till now, because the two medicines for the obesity Orlistate and Sibutramine may be administered to the children of more than 12 and 16 years respectively. So it is very clear that the childhood obesity can be only prevented.

         Mother’s milk and sufficient sleep help preventing the obesity. According to ‘The North-Western University’ an hour of extra sleep decreases the risk of obesity by 36-30%.  By taking care of small-small things at home, we can save our children from getting in the trap of the childhood obesity. The following guidelines can be followed-
·         Let the children get sufficient sleep but not more than enough.
·         Keep only healthy snacks in the home.
·         Encourage the children to play outdoor games.
·         Don’t let them spend more time in front of the television, computer or video game.
·         Don’t let them eat junk food or fast food.
·         Keep the home environment happy and healthy.

Author: Dr. Krishna N. Sharma (PT)
Cont: +91-9320699167
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(Written by Dr.Krishna N. Sharma and Published in The Stethoscope, The Independent Newspaper, Bangladesh on 12 April 2010)