Childhood Obesity

Some kids have unhealthy eating habits. While some eat little or no food, others eat much more than their bodies need.

These kids suffer from the disease obesity. It is also called obesity. Those affected are usually severely overweight and engage in eating behaviors that can cause them lasting harm.

Because by the many eat one does not only increase, but makes the work more difficult for the own organs. This can lead to serious consequences, at the latest in adulthood.

Causes Of Obesity

Obesity usually has something to do with the fact that one wants to fill a gap in oneself. One feels empty, useless, or useless for anything.

Children who tend to be very overweight because of their genes have an especially hard time. They are used to being fat. This in turn can lead to being teased by others. If you then no longer feel comfortable in your own body, you become sad. Then you manage even less to take care of your own health.

However, being overweight can always have very different causes. It can also be that there is a disease that makes the body gain more weight than it needs. Some medications can also lead to obesity. The birth control pill, for example, can cause water retention in the body.

When people are under stress for a long period of time, eating disorders and obesity can also develop.

Overweight – What Is It Exactly?

Whether someone is overweight is calculated using the so-called BMI. This is the “body mass index”. This English word describes the ratio of body weight to height. This is because taller people may be slightly heavier than shorter people. You can calculate your own BMI with the following formula:

BMI = body weight in kilograms: body height²

The number calculated from this should be less than 25. If you get a value of 30 or more, you are considered obese. The healthy normal range is values of about 18.5 to 25. However, this applies mainly to adults. For children, the normal BMI can be somewhat lower.

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If you want, you can calculate your BMI yourself. If it is not within the normal range, a visit to the doctor is advisable. He can give you more detailed information.

In addition to BMI, body fat distribution is also important. Depending on which type you are, body fat is deposited in different places. A distinction is made between the pear and apple types.

Overweight people of the pear type are mostly women. They have wide hips, thighs, and a big butt. This body shape can damage self-esteem, but it is not a very big threat to health.

Apple types, on the other hand, are mostly men. In them, fat accumulates in the abdominal area. Unlike pear types, apple types run the risk of suffering from serious secondary diseases. High blood pressure (the heart has to work extra hard in these people) and diabetes are two of these diseases. They occur very often in overweight people.

People suffering from obesity should go to a nutritionist for advice. This is because nutritionists are very good at measuring the degree of obesity. In addition to the BMI, for example, the waist-hip ratio is also calculated.

How Overweight Kids Feel

Some kids are prone to binge eating without actually being overweight. To avoid getting fat, they throw up afterward (bulimia) or go on a diet afterward.

However, most children with uncontrolled eating behavior become overweight sooner or later. They eat more and faster than others. In doing so, they feel more comfortable than when they eat nothing. After a binge, they may feel depressed or guilty. Some even become disgusted with themselves.

This has an extremely negative effect on both the psyche and the body.

Physical Side Effects

While one-off or infrequent bingeing attacks hardly have any effect on the body, bad eating habits can have very serious consequences in the long term.

Many of those affected suffer from cardiovascular problems. They quickly break into a sweat when they have to exercise in gym class or walk to the bus.

In addition, they may develop chronic diseases such as arteriosclerosis or diabetes. This also increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke later on.

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Joints and spine have to bear the weight of obese people every day. They have to withstand more than those of normal-weight people. Therefore, damage can occur to the joints and the discs in the spine. This in turn leads to having to lie in bed for longer periods of time and being restricted in movement. Sports are out of the question after such damage has occurred. This can further increase the body weight, which makes the situation even worse.

Psychological Problems

Overweight people have the feeling that they do not really belong. In sports, they are slower than others, some exercises they can not do at all. Hiking days become an ordeal for them, which is why many avoid them.

Children, in particular, suffer additional teasing from their schoolmates. This can lead to them no longer daring to go outside in their free time. They prefer to sit in front of the PC or watch television. Overweight people do not infrequently withdraw from social life and become increasingly lonely.
Most overweight people are ashamed of the fact that they cannot control their binge eating. They feel powerless and depressed. Some barely get out of bed in the morning because they don’t feel like getting up. When you don’t enjoy anything anymore, it’s called depression.

In addition to depressive moods, anxiety disorders and addictive behavior can occur. The overweight person then tries to distract themselves from their desire to eat by drinking alcohol or smoking more. This also usually gets out of control and makes the situation even worse.

Ways Out Of The Crisis: Therapy For Overweight People

The most difficult step is deciding to want to change something. If you have made it to this point, a lot of positive things have already happened. Because overcoming the inner pig keeps many people from taking their lives into their own hands. We would like to show you which steps are necessary to permanently return to a normal weight.

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Healthy Weight Loss

In order to go through life healthier again, those affected have to lose weight. There is no way around this. However, one should not try to exercise oneself to death. Well-known TV shows show us that you can achieve true miracles within a few weeks by doing a lot of sport and eating less. However, this extreme “weight loss course” does more harm than good. Reality looks different than television wants to make us believe. Most people can’t get through such a cure according to the guiding principle “all or nothing” because the pressure to perform is too great.

Far healthier and more promising is slow weight loss in combination with a sustainable change in eating habits. Sustainable means that you can maintain the new behavior in the long term in order to lead a healthy life well into old age.

Visit To The Doctor

Your family doctor can provide you with information about local support groups. He or she can tell you which sports are suitable and which should be avoided. Overweight people need this discussion with the doctor because they have to put much more strain on their bodies during sports than people of normal weight. In addition, the doctor will perform regular blood tests to monitor the changes in the body.

The doctor may order other tests such as EKGs (examination of the heartbeat) or appointments with an orthopedist. The orthopedic surgeon is an expert in bones, joints, and the spine. He checks his patient regarding the condition of his bones and can also give him recommendations regarding the most suitable sports.

Lifestyle Change And Psychotherapy

Overweight people need not only a healthy weight loss program and medical support but also accompanying psychotherapy.

It is usually sufficient to have a few psychotherapy appointments prescribed by the doctor. You then meet with the therapist and first explain how the unhealthy eating behavior came about. It is important for the therapist to know why you only feel good when you eat. What problems have there been in one’s life so far? What strokes of fate? What can the patient handle well, but what scares him? These questions and more can be clarified in a trusting conversation. Most of the time, you learn new things about yourself while you are telling something in therapy. Then connections become clearer and you develop an understanding of your own behavior. This makes it easier not to feel ashamed of yourself. Because all behavior, no matter how bad, has a reason that is hidden deep within us.

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If the health or psychological condition makes it necessary, inpatient therapy may be necessary. This means staying in a clinic for a few weeks to improve the health and mental condition. Sometimes medication against depression has to be prescribed or eating behavior has to be observed.

Relapses or discontinuations of therapy are not uncommon. After all, one or the other obstacle on the way back to health may seem insurmountable. Many people react to this with fear and evasive behavior.

In such situations, it is important to have the best possible support from one’s own family. Parents or guardians must be able to work well with the therapists and implement their advice at home. In addition, they should be understanding with their child when he or she is once again on the verge of giving up. A few empathetic words coupled with demanding discipline will help the affected child stay on track.

Incidentally, the cost of therapy, in this case, is usually covered, since eating disorders and obesity represent a serious health risk. More details can be clarified with the attending physician or directly with the health insurance company.

Worksheet For The Text

1) Explain the difficult words in the text.
What does…

  • Obesity
  • BMI
  • Depression
  • Orthopedist
  • Sustainable

2) Why do people become obese? What circumstances lead to this?

3) Write here what can be done about obesity. What kind of therapy is useful?

4) Research task: Use the class PC for this. Find out how many calories a child your age should eat every day. Search for the following words using the children’s search engine and make notes based on the pages you find:

  • Calories
  • Energy metabolism
  • Child

Photo: Sergio Hayashi /

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