Obesity in Different Age Groups

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Obesity in Different Age Groups

Obesity & Children

Obesity in children is something which we are coming across more and nowadays. This, to a very great extent, could be attributed to heredity. It is commonly found that a child born to overweight parents, has a 90% chance to become obese.

Why heredity causes obesity in children

The question that may cross any one’s mind is why does heredity cause overweight? It is because in most of the cases the child simply inherits good appetite and they are not discouraged from eating anything and everything at anytime and all the time. This results in faulty digestion and poor absorption, culminating in obesity.

It is also found that children born to mother who are over-fed with more of artificial and fatty food lacking in nutrition during their last three months believed by most mothers that an over-weight child must be fed more because the size of the stomach seems large. The child is trained to overeat at a very young age and the weight keeps increasing alarmingly.

Sweets and obesity – Inseparable companions

Young children are fond of sweets. This tendency makes them eat sweets at the beginning of their meals. This brings on a false sense of satisfied appetite. This satisfaction is achieved before they eat sufficient food that supply nutritive needs. The sight of vegetable and other nutritive food, at such times, make them turn away form them. Consequently they return, after a little while, with hunger and insists on having the same type of food that they had earlier.

It discipline is not instilled in children right from the beginning to consume nutritive food like vegetables, milk etc., they will end up eating food only of their choice which is harmful to their health. Many of those children who indulge in eating sweets often, rarely their food unless it is excessively sweetened.

There are some children who also enjoy natural food like fruits, but only when they are included in salads, ice-creams and custard that are sweetened. But some may argue that children who are extremely thin do relish sweets with the same interest. These children generally are over-active for their age, so the extra calories they consume get converted into energy. But their over indulgence in such type of food saps their body reserve and though they do not become obese, they become prone to many deficiencies. In such children during their childhood bad teeth, stomach and intestinal disorders occur frequently due to bad digestion and assimilation of what they eat. As a result they remain thin upto their adolescence. But as they grow into their youth there comes a sudden appearance of flesh around their waist and abdomen. A steady increase in their weight which never abates as he or she grows older, is the unfortunate result.

Parents are at fault

A permanent observation about such behavior in children is that the blame should entirely lie on the parents. Moderation in every thing is never considered a virtue. A show of leniency towards their loved one’s tantrums and behaviour are mistakenly thought to be the immense love they have for their children. Sweets are used as bribe as well as reward to make them do things and when they do things without being told. Young children at school are encouraged to distribute toffees and chocolates on their birthdays in almost all schools with the consent of parents as well as teachers. This practice has become a way of school going children’s life even in villages.
Many children are fond of eating fried-salty snacks, cakes, pastries and biscuits frequently, especially when they watch their favorite programmes on the television. This type of wrong eating encourages and results in overeating and consequent obesity. In many families parents themselves have such eating habits from whom the children pick them up easily.

Games devoid of exercise in children

Education combined with entertainment, most of which are more of brain-work than physical activity, has taken hold of young children’s time. In every home children spend hours together confined to a place. Video games and a variety of games and puzzles deprive them of the opportunity to engage in outdoor exercise and sports.

Some children are also found to gain weight after the removal of the tonsils. This is more so in girls than in boys. An emotionally insecure child also eats frequently to gain reassurance and comfort when under pressure either at home or school.

Obesity in teenagers

Some girls, due to the abnormal functioning of the hormones during puberty, start gaining weight. Obesity during adolescence, also increase for the same reasons, affecting both the sexes equally.
Teenagers tend to stay awake till late night to study or to watch television. The lack of sleep makes them tired in the morning with very little or no hunger at all. As a result they often skip breakfast before rushing to school or college.

A growing boy or girl needs plenty of nutritious food to match the demands of his or her body and a good breakfast is a must. If breakfast is missed, whatever the circumstances may be, a feeling of hunger will be felt during midmorning and the noon meals time being few hours away, temptation to indulge in midmorning snacks will be very difficult to overcome. So once again they tend to skip regular meals and instead munch something or the other like pastries, cakes and other junk food. These snacks have more calories than necessary, but lack in their nutritional value, with result that a host of health problems and obesity follow.

Parties, the pleasant temptation

Teenagers are fond of parties where cakes, pastries and soft drinks form the main menu. Fortunately, most of the teenagers are figure conscious and are also very active. As such, the extra calories consumed by them on such occasions, get converted into energy. But the unfortunate ones who inherit the tendency for obesity, gain weight alarmingly. Their strong attraction towards starchy, spicy, highly seasoned, fast food, ice-creams, chocolates and soft drinks on an aversion to the right meals which they tend to eat outside their homes in fast food joints, are rushed, preventing the most needed thorough chewing of the food. Such foods are also eaten at irregular times.

Obesity in adults

People in business and holding high officers, are prone to obesity, for they are obliged to attend parties frequently, where ice-creams and rich desserts are served. Soft drinks and alcohol which flow like water on such occasions, add to the damage.

Those who are accustomed to high standards of living or who move constantly in high society, tend to enjoy with their friends, eating recklessly and consuming liquor at untimely hours ignoring the after-effects. This is how even normal persons become victims of the self-inflicted habit of overeating. After a heavy party, they just use elevators instead of stairs and drive home and retire to bed immediately. This hardly gives their system enough time or exercise for the digestion of the rich food they have consumed. This too results in obesity.

There are some people who have little or no brain work to do, nor do they have inclination to physical to physical exertion. Such persons do nothing but sit back and enjoy overeating. We find today there is increasing commonality, besides their way of life, in the type of diseases people, rich and poor, suffer from due to obesity or in becoming obese for almost the same reasons.
Obesity among sportsmen

Leading sportsmen and women of lean build seem to gain weight after a few years. Similarly many athletes and players gain weight once they retire from active sports. So do dancers. This could be attributed mainly to their increasing affluence, social life and the status their profession brings that encourage physical comfort and faulty eating habits. As long as they are engaged in active sports they follow a strict regimen as regards their exercise and food habits. The sudden change in their habits shows itself in their physical appearance distinctly.

Over exercise, an addiction

A wrestler or weight lifter is stout and over weight but not obese. His body weight is that of his exercised and strongly built. His body weight is that of his exercised and strongly built muscles and not of mere flesh and fat. He normally consumes food rich in calories. His daily intake of dairy food may amount to two litres of milk and a good quantity of butter, cheese etc. he effortlessly consumes five to six eggs, large quantities of meat and other protein and carbohydrate-rich food in a day. But if he stops his activities as a weight lifter or wrestler his over exercised body does not adjust itself to inactivity. Slowly and steadily muscle degeneration takes place and fat get s deposited to make him obese. Added to this, he continues to eat the same amount and the same type of food which he once used to eat to keep his body energetic and fit. This is not accepted by this body.

Similarly some people gain weight after quitting spots. In a way these persons are addicted to over-exercise. The withdrawal from over-exercise they once engaged themselves in, find an outlet in overeating without exercise.

Can music cause obesity?

Singers who sing for long hours and musicians who play wind-pipe instruments like flute, clarinet, shehnai, nadaswaram, etc. are many a time prone to obesity. This is because of the over exertion of their vocal cords. The vocal cord is stretched and exercised continuously. The functions of the thyroid glands which are situated on either side of the vocal cord get affected due to this. At first they develop double chin and bloated neck. This further disturbs the secretion of the hormones of this gland which has a direct effect on weight increase and slowly the whole body becomes obese. At the peak of their career, these musicians are exposed to much publicity and social status of this kind of life. Drinking when associated with high living has its own role to play in weight gain.

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  • About The Author


    Gopakumar Nair belongs to a Hereditary Ayurvedic family of Kerala who were Practising Ayurveda and traditional Medicine for 200 Years . They can be traced back to over six generations. His experience under the guidance of his guru Valiya thampuraan has earned lot of trust and popularity.

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