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Calorie Intake and Childhood Obesity

Overview

Childrens daily intake of calories is an important factor in any discussion about weight gain. It becomes even more critical in efforts to get them to lose weight. All efforts have to be made to track their intake of calories on a daily basis, and create a balance in what they consume, and that of physical activities.

Calories

 

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), a calorie is a unit of energy which is supplied by food. All foods contain calories, and as units have the same effect whether it is fats, carbohydrates, proteins or sugars. Gaining excessive weight occurs because the intake of calories is more than the calories burned. This is usually a result of overeating, excessive snacking, consuming high calorie foods or drinks, including sodas and milk, without adequate physical activities to burn off the calories.

 

To maintain a normal weight the use of the Caloric Balance Equation is necessary. This equation is based firstly on the belief that individuals are overweight and obese due to an energy imbalance. This is caused by the consumption of too many calories but too little physical activity. Secondly, an individual’s body weight is linked with their genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture and socioeconomic status. Thirdly, weight gain and obesity is associated with behavior and the environment.

 

Balancing calories is essential in maintaining or losing weight. Each meal must be weighed against its calorie content. It also limits the calories that should be consumed during the rest of that day. The time of day that meals are eaten is also important, because high calorie meals are best eaten during the day rather than at nights, because the body is more active during the day.

 

The socio-economic situation of the individual also plays a major role in dieting. Fruits and vegetables contain lesser calories than carbohydrates, so meals should be balanced, consisting of more fruits and vegetables than carbohydrates. However, dieting can be expensive so many people are forced to prepare carbohydrate meals and protein, rather than substituting the carbohydrates with vegetables. A family with a limited budget, spend most of their time trying to make ends meet, preparing pastas, and rice because it will serve more people and far less expensive, even though it contains more calories.

 

Calorie intake is one of the many factors that cause obesity, and although not the only factor in weight gain is just as important as genetics, metabolism and physical activities. Skipping meals is not dieting and parents need to spend time educating their children on eating properly, not only what they eat, but also when and how often.

It will never be easy to get children to diet, unless it becomes a family effort. This will make it easier for the children, because the menu will change for all family members instead of the child only. Many people need to lose a few pounds anyway, so everyone will be winners in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

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