Year Ender 2023: Top harmful habits in kids that left parents worried | Health

With sedentary lifestyle becoming a new norm and outdoor time of children on decline, lifestyle-related disorders among kids are on rise nowadays. Chronic diseases that earlier affected elderly is now becoming prevalent not only in young adults but also adolescents. Experts attribute this growing risk of lifestyle diseases in kids to excessive screen time, unhealthy eating habits, change in sleeping habits and little playtime. Diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cardiac issues, mental health disorders have been on rise in kids due to these unhealthy lifestyle habits. (Also read | Year Ender 2023: 6 weight loss diets that we were tempted to try)

Diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cardiac issues, mental health disorders have been on rise in kids due to these unhealthy lifestyle habits(Emily Wade on Unsplash)

Various studies have highlighted the importance of eating healthy in early life as it not just helps in physical and mental health development, but also reduces risk of diseases later in life. As per a report published in National Library of Medicine, children who did not have regular breakfasts and ate sweet and salty snacks were at significantly higher risk of lifestyle diseases.

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“In 2023, parents grappled with pressing concerns regarding their children’s wellness. The foremost issues that left them deeply worried were the escalating problems of screen addiction and obesity. The pervasive presence of screens in children’s lives led to excessive screen time, causing mental health strains and physical health issues. Simultaneously, this sedentary lifestyle linked with prolonged screen use contributed significantly to the rising rates of obesity among youngsters,” says Dr Nishant Bansal, Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Noida.

HARMFUL LIFESTYLE HABITS THAT AFFECTED CHILDREN’S HEALTH IN 2023

Dr Bansal shares how extended screen time, disrupted sleep patterns and reduced physical activity affected children’s health in general:

1. Sedentary lifestyle

Excessive screen time often means extended periods of inactivity, leading to a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for prolonged hours reduces physical movement and burns fewer calories, contributing to weight gain.

2. Unhealthy eating habits

Children exposed to screens for extended periods may be more prone to mindless snacking or consuming unhealthy foods. Advertisements for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods on screens can influence eating choices, leading to poor dietary habits and weight gain.

3. Disrupted sleep patterns

Screen time, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. Inadequate sleep has been linked to weight gain and obesity in children due to its influence on hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.

4. Reduced physical activity

Increased screen time often replaces time that could have been spent engaging in physical activities or sports. This lack of exercise further contributes to weight gain and obesity.

5. Stress and emotional eating

Excessive screen time can lead to increased stress, anxiety, or even depression in some children. These emotional states may trigger unhealthy eating habits, such as comfort eating or eating as a response to stress, leading to weight issues.

6. Impact on parental control

Prolonged screen exposure might lead to decreased parental control over children’s eating habits or physical activities. Parents might find it challenging to monitor and regulate their child’s behaviour when they spend excessive time absorbed in screens.

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