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A third of children in Russia suffer from excess weight: how to deal with obesity in schoolchildren

Date: June 9, 2023 Time: 13:10:27

Dietitian Solomatina said that the parents themselves “put unhealthy food for children”

Photo: Shutterstock

The number of overweight children in Russia has risen from a fifth to around a third of the total number of children since the pandemic. This can be deduced from the data from the regional monitoring of child health and from the observations of specialists who work with obese children and adolescents. The situation in Russia in this area differs little from what happens with children in other countries who have survived the COVID-19 lockdowns.

What classes have the most complete?

In the Tula region, according to the results of a survey of schoolchildren, conducted by doctors from the local Rospotrebnadzor, it turned out that 33% of children have weight problems. Among those who suffer from obesity, the majority are elementary school students and, for the most part, children. A similar study was conducted in Yekaterinburg among 3,000 first-graders. It turned out that 25% of seven-year-old boys and 21% of girls are overweight, and obesity was diagnosed in 10% of boys and 7% of girls.

In the Volgograd region, over the past 10 years, the number of overweight girls and boys has increased by 10%, and among adolescents – by 2 times. The volgograd.kp.ru site was informed about this by the local Rospotrebnadzor. Only last year, 2,393 obese children and 1,223 obese adolescents applied for care at medical institutions for the first time. In total, more than 9,000 children and about 3.4,000 adolescents are registered in medical institutions in the region for obesity.

Since the beginning of 2022, more than 2,000 children under the age of 17 have been diagnosed with obesity in Cheboksary. The main causes of childhood obesity are malnutrition, low physical activity, heredity, metabolic disorders and diseases of the endocrine system.

With the parents of my children’s classmates in a Moscow secondary school, we also conducted our own small study. It turned out that in grades 5-6 it is easier to count children who do not have overweight problems. Specifically, the eldest son of the skinny kid class has only three (he’s one of them). Fat girls, who are already a minority in these classes, on the contrary, are much fewer: one or two per class. Among ninth graders, overweight children are in the minority: one or two people per class, both among boys and girls. The same number of overweight children are in grades 1-2.

According to pre-pandemic data from the Russian Ministry of Health, one in five children was overweight and one in fifteen was obese. The pandemic has turned obesity into something of an epidemic. Including children – on average in the country, the proportion of minors with obesity increased by 10%.

The main cause of childhood obesity is adults

Questions related to supplemental nutrition were included in the regional questionnaires. When answering them, the youngest schoolchildren noted that they most often choose pastries, fast food and juices for a snack. Teenagers gain weight due to cravings for carbonated drinks with a lot of sugar. At a distance, children eat a bite even more often than at school during breaks, at a computer or TV.

When the first alarming data about the increase in the number of overweight children appeared last year, State Duma deputy Yana Lantratova even suggested that the RF Ministry of Digital Resources impose restrictions on the broadcast of commercials for fast food, snacks , foods rich in fat and salt products, confectionery, sweet soft drinks and sausages in the mass media for an audience of up to 16 years of age. In order to combat adolescent obesity, such restrictions have long been introduced in various countries. But in Russia, advertising money once again turned out to be more important than children’s health.

However, advertising is advertising, but food preferences run in the family and are still more dependent on parents than television.

“A whole generation has grown up, conditionally the ’90s generation’, which has formed unhealthy eating habits,” says dietitian Elena Solomatina. – Therefore, the child is unlikely to eat whole grain porridge if the parents eat cereals and fast food. Kids get hooked on the same food. And obesity is not just a set of body weight, the endocrine system often collapses; Adipose tissue begins to function as its surrogate, and the fatter a person is, the faster the biochemistry of his body changes. And physical exercises for a full child become more and more difficult, a kind of vicious circle is formed, when fullness reduces mobility, and inactivity increases weight … “

“The problem of childhood obesity has nothing to do with the financial state of families,” said nutritionist Tatyana Kirillova, founder of Russia’s first camp for overweight children. – It is that children eat more and move less. Obesity now begins at preschool age. The problem isn’t even that kids eat fast food. The problem is that they stop eating normal food.”

To do?

Overweight children during the pandemic has become more in other countries. Obesity has become during this time another global epidemic. In particular, studies in the United States revealed that during the pandemic, children ages 5 to 11 gained the most extra pounds. In total, 14 million children suffer from obesity in the United States, according to the latest data. It was decided to treat them both with the help of medication and by surgical procedures.

The Russian Ministry of Health promises this year to start providing annually data on the proportion of obese children: the statistics will be sent to the government as part of the Decade of Children (2018-2027), the president announced. By the way, the regional studies listed above ended not only with a declaration of the increase in the number of overweight children – local programs for the treatment and prevention of obesity were launched everywhere.

He dreams of retaking his camp, killed by the pandemic, and Tatyana Kirillova: “There, in three weeks, my children lost seven kilograms of fat!”

To prevent or stop weight gain in children, experts advise:

– limit the consumption of sweets in the family: drinks, dairy products with sugar, even sweet fruits

– eat 4 times a day

– in the diet of all family members there should be a lot of vegetables: the youngest students need at least 300 g per day, and adolescents – 400 g

– all family members should eat slowly, without television, computer or mobile phone nearby

All family members, especially children, need regular physical activity, sports.

– all family members should sleep the number of hours prescribed by age, children and adolescents – at least 8-9 hours.

By the way

Spanish scientists have established a direct relationship between the duration of sleep and the predisposition to obesity in adolescents. According to the results of a study of a group of children 12-16 years old, it turned out that lack of sleep (sleeping less than 8 hours) provokes the appearance of excess weight. The study authors stress that the relationship between lack of sleep and obesity does not depend on food intake and physical activity.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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