The risk of children becoming obese after the distance – VnExpress

Lack of exercise, eating too much starch, sweet foods and drinks … in the months of separation put many children at high risk of being overweight and obese.

Master, Doctor Bui Ngoc An Pha – Medical Director of Nutrihome Nutrition Clinic System said that statistics show that when Covid-19 takes place, the proportion of children who are overweight and obese tends to increase in the world and in Vietnam. According to a report by American scientists published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – JAMA in August 2021, the rate of overweight and obese children aged 5-11 increased from 36.2% to 45.7%. after the pandemic.

“There are no specific statistics in Vietnam, but through the actual visit at Nutrihome, we noticed that the percentage of children who come to the nutrition clinic because of weight gain and obesity has also recently increased significantly by about 17%,” said Dr. An Pha said.

Causes of overweight and obesity in children

Baby Hoang Khanh (11 years old, Thu Duc city) was brought to Nutrihome by her mother for nutrition examination and discovered that she had gained 8 kg in the past 3 months. Currently, the baby is more than 5 kg above the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). “Baby Khanh’s mother did not realize that her child was overweight. Many parents when taking their children to the doctor also fell into the same situation,” said Dr. An Pha.

Excellent Doctor, Doctor, Doctor Pham Thi Thu Huong – Former Head of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Department of National Institute of Nutrition; Nutrihome’s head doctor, said that the situation of children gaining weight after a long time of separation is because many parents worry that their children are not healthy enough to prevent diseases, so there is a tendency to over-feed their children. child.

In addition, a diet lacking in fiber but with too much starch, sugar, fat and other nutrients, and lack of exercise, just hanging around the house causes the weight of many children to increase. Some children gained nearly 10 kg within a few months at home, Dr. Huong said.

After the separation, many parents take their children to a nutritionist at Nutrihome. Photo: Nutrihome.

How to recognize overweight and obese children

Doctor Huong also guides how to recognize overweight and obese children based on the WHO height and weight growth standards as follows:

– For children from 60 months old to 19 years old: use BMI for age with the formula BMI = weight/(height x height – unit is meters). Specifically, when compared with the BMI table of children 5-19 years old, if BMI = -1SD to +1SD is normal; BMI = +1SD to +2SD is overweight; BMI = >+2SD is obese.

– For children under 60 months of age: use the zcore index to assess weight for length or height. Length is calculated for children under 24 months old and height for children 24 months and older. Specifically, when compared with the weight table of children from 0 to 5 years old, if zcore = -2SD to + 2SD is normal; zcore = +2SD to +3SD is overweight; zcore = >+3SD is obesity.

Dr. Huong said, overweight is defined as the excess of the weight threshold compared with the standard for the current length or height of the subject. Obesity is an excessive and abnormal accumulation of fat either locally or throughout the body and has adverse effects on children’s health.

Overweight and obesity in children can cause a number of diseases such as: metabolic disorders causing diabetes (diabetes), high blood pressure…; the risk of early puberty leading to a limited ability to grow in height; become obese as an adult and face many dangerous diseases such as cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, fatty liver, blood fat, sleep apnea…

Doctor An Pha said that being overweight and obese in children also puts them at risk during the pandemic if they are infected. Overweight and obesity is one of the risk factors for rapid progression, severe Covid-19 symptoms (with Delta variant) forcing children to be hospitalized for treatment.

If infected with Covid-19, overweight and obese children are more likely to face severe symptoms.  Photo: Shutterstock.

If infected with Covid-19, overweight and obese children are more likely to face severe symptoms. Photo: Shutterstock.

Doctor Huong advises that in order to lose weight and control a reasonable weight, children need to follow a scientific diet. Parents need to pay attention to the following issues to help their children lose weight while ensuring their health, absorbing enough nutrients to develop height and general health.

Follow a varied diet to prevent children from being deficient in nutrients. Each child’s daily meal needs to be complete and balanced with 4 main groups of nutrients (carbohydrates, good fats, protein, vitamins and minerals) and a variety of healthy natural foods. In particular, children need to be supplemented with fresh fruits, green vegetables, milk, eggs, meat, fish, seafood… to enhance the supply of vitamins (vitamins C, D), minerals (iron, zinc, copper, selenium, magnesium…), fiber for the body.

At the same time, parents need to feed their children with foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fats, not exceeding the recommended needs.

Teach children the habit of eating on time, do not skip meals (especially breakfast and lunch), and limit feeding after 8pm. When preparing meals for children, it is important to remember the formula: eat more for breakfast, lunch, and less in the evening. Parents remind children to eat within 30 minutes, sitting at the table should focus on eating, do not watch TV, phone or play ipad.

Children receive nutrition counseling at Nutrihome.  Photo: Nutrihome.

Children receive nutrition counseling at Nutrihome. Photo: Nutrihome.

Parents should encourage children to be physically active, playing light sports indoors or outdoors. Children should practice at least 30-60 minutes a day in sports such as jogging, climbing stairs, swimming, football… The exercise and movement helps children reduce the risk of overweight and obesity, and strengthen their resistance. , strong.

If the child’s overweight and obesity status does not improve, parents should not let their children eat as much as they want, instead take the child to a nutritionist for advice and detailed instructions on the diet. Eating. This helps children lose weight but still ensure their health for physical development, learning and movement.

Chau Vu


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