Addressing and treating childhood obesity

by Kaari Kink @ 20.12.2018

Addressing and treating childhood obesity

A lot of our blog posts have focussed on childhood cancer. However, in addition to pediatric cancer patients, Triumf Health also supports children who are affected by obesity and/or diabetes. In this blog post we want to give an overview why we think addressing and treating these conditions is essential.

Obesity is defined as having more body fat than is healthy. The most common way to assess overweight and obesity is measuring body mass index (BMI), which is the relationship between height and weight. The best way to understand BMI is to ask your doctor. The prevalence of being overweight and obese among children and adolescents aged 5-19 has risen from just 4% in 1975 to over 18% in 2016 (WHO, 2018). More than 340 million children therefore live with a condition that, in most cases, could be prevented. Being overweight also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition of chronically high glucose levels due to insulin-resistance. Therefore, prevention and treatment early in childhood is key.

The main reason for becoming overweight under normal conditions is the mismatch between calorie intake and activity levels. On an individual level, changes in diet, i.e. reducing the amount of calories ingested from sugar and fat, and engaging in regular exercise as well as decreasing time being sedentary are essential to reduce the risk and treat obesity. Being active not only has an indirect effect on weight management by increasing energy expenditure, it also directly regulates blood glucose levels. Indeed, physical activity improves insulin sensitivity and promotes glucose uptake by the muscle, making it an excellent method by which to decrease high blood glucose without medication (Sylow et al., 2016).

However, the underlying causes for obesity are more complex than may be thought. Although individual behaviour is a key predictor, the societal and environmental factors, e.g. junk food advertisements, as well as commitment from various stakeholders need to be considered too (WHO, 2018). It is important to educate children, parents, as well as schools on good nutrition, and make healthy lifestyle easy and accessible. Due to this rather complex combination, children should receive personalised support to help them understand and engage in healthy behaviour (BPS, 2018).

In Triumf, we are passionate about tackling childhood obesity to ensure long-term health, both mental and physical. Our team of experts in psychology and health science are working closely together to provide children with multidimensional support. We believe that being healthy doesn’t have to be boring - through delivering personalised digital therapeutics, gamified educational materials and interactive mini-games, we offer an engaging and cost-effective way to drive behaviour change amongst children.

Useful links:

Making Healthy Food Choices

What being overweight means