We generally blame over eating for causing child obesity. But it is not the sole factor responsible for causing child obesity. Few children become obese due to their genetic make up. Hereditary also has some role to play in causing child obesity. Studies show that about 35% of the child obesity cases are because of the genetic issues. So, before jumping onto taking measures it is very important to know which factors have caused obesity in the child. If the reason behind obesity is heredity or other genetic issues then the approach for solving this will be different. Generally most of the genetic issues are non curable.
What role does genetics play in causing child obesity?
The two major issues that are responsible for child obesity are environmental issues like over eating, no physical activity and genetic issues. A child’s genes come from both the parents. So, if either of the parents is obese then the child is more likely to develop obesity. Basically obesity is considered to be a hereditary problem because in most of the cases children become obese because of their genetic make up. The probability of the child becoming obese is more if both the parents are obese. Obesity caused due to the genetic problem cannot be cured that easily so the health officials suggest that it is better to prevent obesity by taking certain measures in case of children with obese family background. Few of the genetic issues that can lead to child obesity are discussed below.
Genetic issues that can cause child obesity are defects in the chromosome or single gene. Such obesity is called monogenic obesity. Defects in the single genes like leptin, leptin-receptor and melanocortin-4 receptor which play a major role in the appetite regulation can lead to obesity at a very younger age. These defects can be passed onto the next generations.
Child obesity may be caused also because of the obesity syndromes. Such obesity is called syndromic obesity.
Also the change in the genetic make up of the gut flora that plays a major role in the digestion process can cause child obesity.
Because of the presence of the susceptible genes in the genetic make up of the kid. These genes cover large area of the chromatin and are passed on to the kids from their parents. These genes deal with obesity related phenotypes.
What should be done to prevent child obesity caused because of the genetic issues?
As already said it is difficult to treat obesity caused because of the genetic issues. And the only solution to this problem would be prevention. Since there is no cure for such obesity only preventive measures can help in fighting against it. Few of the preventive measures that should be followed by both the parents and the kids to prevent child obesity are mentioned below.
Health check ups: If either of the parent is obese or if there are any cases of obesity in the family history then it is better to go for health check ups regularly. Both the parents and the children should get the health check up done. This would help in studying the genetic make up of both the parents and kids and conclude if the child will become obese in future. If the test results show that the child would develop obesity then preventive measures can be taken by the parents accordingly to prevent their child from getting obese. Even the children must be taught about the problems that they would face if they do not take preventive measures.
Diet and exercises: Children who are most likely to develop child obesity must put a check on their diets. And this should be done by the parents initially. They must be taught about the kinds of foods that they should consume and the ones they should not. Nutritious foods like fresh vegetables and fruits must become the part of the diet as they have more fiber and fewer calories. Junk food must not be consumed by these kids at any cost. Parents should make a note of all these things and should be very careful while designing the diet plan for their kids. They should also see to it that the kids participate in all kinds of physical activities and that they exercise regularly. This is one of the useful way for childhood obesity prevention.