Childhood is best time to treat obesity, says expert

With children, it is easier to propose dietary re-education, which is the main method to combat obesity.

Early identification of childhood obesity and the introduction of appropriate treatment are important “weapons” to help reduce the risks of an obese adult stage bringing great benefits to their health.

According to Marcela Tardioli nutrition consultant of the Brazilian Association of Biscuit, Food Pasta and Industrialized Breads and Buns (ABIMAPI) , the awareness of parents about the risks and consequences of overweight for the future of children and about the most appropriate forms of avoiding weight gain is critical to reversing the current picture of obesity growth.

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In the case of children, data from the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (ABESO) indicate that this condition may be related to sedentary lifestyle, birth weight, breastfeeding, parental obesity, and growth factors. “The family should also be aware of behaviors that can cause eating disorders, such as anxiety and depression in adolescence,” says the specialist.

A study published in the journal Obesity Journal – Pediatric Obesity in 2017, conducted with 126 people in Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, with assessments made between 1991 and 1998, repeated between 2002, 2008, 2010 and 2011, showed that childhood and adolescence are the most important periods to promote healthy weight loss. An important point is that factors that cause obesity (such as sedentary lifestyle, for example) can be modified at this stage of life by introducing new habits that contribute to weight loss before generating associated diseases that make treatment difficult.

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According to the nutritionist, the treatment of obesity should be accompanied by health professionals, such as nutritionist, doctor, and psychologist. “Families should avoid introducing restrictive diets into the routine of children or adolescents without counseling, as this may compromise the development of the body and may lead to eating compulsions.

“The ideal is to gradually reduce the calories consumed, taking into account the quality of the nutrients, and not exaggerate the amounts. A balanced diet, physical activity and family support are ways to lose weight and improve the quality of life of children, “.

The treatment of obesity can be done in several ways. Among the alternatives are:

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  • Food re-education: adoption of a balanced diet, which provides all the nutrients in sufficient quantities without excess.
  • Progressive reduction of calories: Many restrictive diets are not recommended in these cases.
  • The idea is to progressively lower calories, taking into account the quality of nutrients.
  • Understand the importance of each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the main meals of our day and can not be replaced by foods that bring higher calorie content and lower nutritional value. Snacks may be lighter, consisting of cookies, fruit, bread, and more.
  • Meal times and frequency: our body also has a “clock” and the creation of a meal schedule contributes to a better functioning of the intestine, for example. It also prevents the person from staying long periods without eating.
  • Pharmacological treatment: in the absence of all other treatments and only with specialized medical follow-up. It is indicated only in the last case.
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