Not just eating, but many other factors too contribute to weight problems in children. Overweight problem is hereditary and runs in the family. But, you cannot decide an overweight child to grow into an overweight adult just because of this fact. Environmental factors such as eating habits and activity graphs tend to have a much stronger impact on weight than heredity.
A person’s lifestyle can lead to weight gain: Few such lifestyle factors include:
- Availability of food and the type of food available
- Activity level
- Snacking habits
- Food rewards
- Use of electronic gadgets and time spent on watching TV
- Eating out more than once a week
- Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages
TV/computer is another reason for weight gain. While watching TV burns only 50 calories per hour, playing burns about 500 calories per hour.
Some ways to curb weight gain and mold them to be active individuals include:
- Limit screen time to one/two hours per day and keep them moving around during TV commercials
- Involve your child in other play activities. It can be a game of frisbee or badminton.
- Children snack on high-calorie foods while watching TV. Impose strict rules against eating while watching TV/ playing video games. The entire family should stick by these rules.
- Few medications increase appetite or weight gain. Consult your child’s doctor and ask him/her for alternate medications in such cases.
Emotional Hunger or Physical Hunger
Some children tend to feel hungry always and tend to eat due to emotional reasons. They use food to block their stress or feelings they feel hard to handle. If this happens quite often, over time your child might forget what physical hunger feels like. If emotional hunger is the reason, try to bring your child out of it by talking to him/her. You can remind him/her that emotions are normal and eating food constantly is not going to solve any problem. Tell him/her that while food can make you feel better for a little while, the problem is not solved forever. If you are worried about differentiating between emotional hunger and physical hunger, you can get a clear picture of the same at www.firsteatright.com.
You can consult your child’s doctor or an RDN to know what exactly is going on with your little one.