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As the child’s BMI varies with age, different age-specific cutoffs have been used to define overweight and obesity.
Behavioral changes and lifestyle modifications are the primary tools for reducing obesity.
However, if the environment contributes to the unhealthy eating practices and sedentary lifestyle, strategies and interventions relying solely on individual “self-control” will not be very effective.
Parents can encourage and be good role models for healthy eating and physical activity, including limiting screen time and access to high-calorie food.
Further, schools can build into the school day more time for active play.
Childhood obesity can affect children’s health for the rest of their lives; it is directly associated with adult obesity, itself associated with many health problems.
A good understanding of the causes and consequences of this problem is necessary in order to take preventive action.
The need for better strategies and novel interventions to manage obesity is now being recognized by the entire health care system.
Obesity and overweight is now the fifth leading global risk factor for mortality.
Strategic investment is thus urgently needed to implement population-based childhood obesity prevention programmes which are effective and also culturally appropriate.
Population-based prevention is crucial to stem this rising tide of childhood obesity which is fast reaching epidemic proportions.