Surge in Lifestyle-Related Ailments Among Children Sparks Alarming Trends in 2023
The prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle and a decline in outdoor activities have given rise to an increase in lifestyle-related disorders among children, once ailments that primarily affected the elderly. The surge in these chronic diseases is linked to contributing factors like excessive screen time, unhealthy dietary habits, disrupted sleep patterns, and limited physical activity. Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cardiac issues, and mental health disorders are becoming more prevalent among children due to these unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Early-life nutrition emerges as a critical factor not only in physical and mental health development but also in mitigating the risk of diseases later in life. A report from the National Library of Medicine emphasises the significant risk of lifestyle diseases in children who skip regular breakfasts and opt for sweet and salty snacks.
Negative Lifestyle Habits Impacting Children’s Health in 2023:
Excessive screen time results in prolonged periods of inactivity, fostering a sedentary lifestyle. Extended periods of sitting reduce physical movement and calorie expenditure, paving the way for weight gain.
Unhealthy eating habits:
Prolonged screen exposure increases the likelihood of mindless snacking and the consumption of unhealthy foods. Advertisements promoting high-calorie, low-nutrient foods influence eating choices, leading to poor dietary habits and weight gain.
Disrupted sleep patterns:
Screen time, especially before bedtime, disrupts sleep patterns. Inadequate sleep, linked to weight gain and obesity in children, influences hormones regulating appetite and metabolism.
Reduced physical activity:
Increased screen time often replaces opportunities for physical activities or sports, further contributing to weight gain and obesity.
Stress and Emotional Eating:
Excessive screen time can induce stress, anxiety, or depression in some children, triggering unhealthy eating habits such as comfort eating or stress-related eating, leading to weight issues.
Impact on Parental Control:
Prolonged screen exposure diminishes parental control over children’s eating habits or physical activities, making it challenging for parents to monitor and regulate their child’s behaviour absorbed by screens.