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Fatboy slim

Child obesity has increased worldwide, reaching alarming proportions. Diet and inactivity are major culprits, says Dr Som Tugnait.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 19, 2008 02:39 IST
Dr Som Tugnait

Child obesity has increased world wide and reached alarming proportions. Though genetics may be the dominant cause of obesity, diet and inactivity are also the major culprits. Dangers of obesity in children include:

* Low self esteem
* Depression
* Increased risk of diabetes
* Increased risk of high blood pressure
* Bone and joint problems
* Sleep disorders
* Psychological aspects

Children need at least 90 minutes of exercise a day to avoid heart disease when they grow older. The old guide lines for 30 -60 minutes do not appear adequate for prevention of diseases.

Parents’ watch out
Instill the exercise bug in your children in the early stages so they grow up seeing exercise as part of their daily routine, something like your morning ablutions. Benefits of exercise are many: like losing weight, reducing stress, relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety, boosting your mood, better sleep, increased bone density, improved quality of life apart from improved heart and lung functioning. Praise your kids when they lose weight and be supportive. Encourage them to do chores around the house rather than spending time in front of the television. Enroll children in some dance, karate class or any other physical activity. Walking up and down the stairs, jumping rope or yoga asanas are great options. Playing outside, riding a bike, skating should also be encouraged.

Keep in mind
Power lifting is not for kids especially when your body is still growing. Kids don’t bulk up, that only comes up at puberty, and body weight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats) may be done to increase strength. Also during puberty both boys and girls gain weight. Hormones released cause muscle mass gain in boys and fat gain in girls, which is normal.

Healthy and permanent weight loss is gradual and unpredictable process and we all lose fat at different speeds depending on our age, gender, weight, genes, diet, level of activity and lifestyle. There are no magic potions but here are some points that you need to keep in mind...

* Do not skip meals, stay away from fad diets, diet pills, fat burning supplements, excessive exercise.
* Watch your drinks, avoid sodas and soft drinks instead have water.
* Avoid fast food like burgers, fries and pizzas. Avoid mindless snacking on cookie, candies and sweets. Don't keep junk food handy.

Dr Som Tugnait is a world bench press champion. He can be contacted at dr.som@rediffmail.com