Increase in the average tummy size of children is a cause for concern. Since, not all body fat is created equal, the fat that accumulates around the waist is the most dangerous. Tummy fat is associated with insulin resistance that in turn increases the risk for diabetes.
Doctors use BMI (Body Mass Index) to measure obesity. The amount of fat deposited is measured by Waist circumference. This is done by wrapping a tape around the waist at the level of the navel. It has been observed that waist circumference is a better predictor of future diabetes and heart disease in adults when compared to BMI. Could it be true in children too?
A study was conducted in the U.S., over groups of thousands of children and teen-agers, aged between 2 to19. It gives evidence that in children too, waist circumference may be a better tool to assess health risks linked with obesity.
It was found that, between 1988 and 2004, abdominal obesity — excess of tummy fat — has increased around 65 to 70 percent in both boys and girls. Doctors used the 90th percentile for the age and sex-related waist circumference to define abdominal obesity.
It is an established fact that obesity affects health in children and today's finding regarding the steady growth of waist circumference is consistent with it. Childhood obesity and more particularly abdominal obesity is the underlying cause of children becoming diabetic.
The rates of insulin resistance, usually observed before the onset of diabetes, and of type 2 diabetes have been on the rise in children. Not so long ago, type 2 diabetes was known as 'adult onset' diabetes, and was seen only in people over forty.
The important message from this study is for health care providers and parents,too.. The former should routinely check waist circumference and BMI in all their patients. The latter have to be on the look out for any excess fat in their children and take action immediatelyStudies indicate that obesity can be accurately diagnosed by an Eyeball test..This just means 'having a good look'! . A parent's vigilant eye is all that is needed!If children's tummies are beginning to bulge, take them to a doctor. Blood tests will reveal any early symptoms of insulin resistance or diabetes. A doctor can advise on what steps have to be taken.
Childhood obesity is a very common problem. One need not feel embarrassed in admitting it. But the problem arises when you start overlooking it. So,be alert!