Body fat monitoring is critical for your child’s health, particularly in preventing childhood obesity. Excess body fat can lead to negative health impacts such as weakened immunity, chronic disease, and poor learning capacity. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is one of the methods suggested to measure children’s body fat and evaluate their overall health effectively.
Understand the role of body fat in your child’s growth
You may already be aware that excessive body fat has a number of harmful effects that are being discovered by researchers. Not to mention the flood of awareness about childhood obesity posts in your social media newsfeed.
To most people, body fat may sound incredibly terrifying. But, in reality, body fat is a necessary part of your child’s body that provides energy, supports brain development, and aids in the absorption of vital nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K).
Nevertheless, higher body fat may have an adverse impact on child growth. According to a study, obesity and excess weight have different effects on boys and girls when it comes to the onset of puberty. It can speed up puberty in girls while delaying it in boys.
What does it mean if puberty happens sooner?
Researchers discovered that once puberty is over, growth stops. These children stop growing sooner because early-onset puberty ends earlier than usual puberty. The final findings show that children who reach puberty earlier have a shorter overall adult height.
Causes of childhood obesity
Despite the fact that parents’ genetic and hormonal factors can play a role in childhood obesity, study show that the diet provided to your child has a significant impact on their healthy growth.
Your child requires a certain number of calories for growth and development. When they eat more calories than they burn, their bodies store the excess calories as fat.
A poor diet high in fat or sugar and low in nutrients can cause children to gain body fat quickly. Fast food, candy, and soft drinks are all common foods that contribute to the problems.
Lack of exercise is another factor in childhood obesity. When people of all ages are less active, they tend to gain weight. Abnormally long screen time is a major potential barrier to your child being active.
Long-term effects of childhood obesity
You may already be aware that excessive body fat has a number of harmful effects that are being discovered by researchers.
A higher body weight gained during childhood usually indicates a higher accumulation of body fat over time. According to WHO and research, childhood obesity may have various negative impact to your child:
- breathing difficulties
- increased risk of fractures
- heart disease
- insulin resistance
- poor learning capacity
- lower emotional well-being
Furthermore, if childhood obesity is not addressed at an early stage. This may lead to long-term consequences in their adulthood, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Measuring body fat in your child
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common tool to check whether your child is overweight. Healthcare professionals frequently use BMI-for-age growth charts from the CDC or WHO to monitor children ‘s growth. A BMI above the recommended range could indicate excessive body fat.
However, BMI does not directly measure body fat. It is a calculation based on weight and height. In other words, it does not take into account factors such as muscle mass, water weight, and bone density changes in your child.
For example, a child who has a normal BMI may still have a high body fat percentage. This is why it is important to use other methods to measure body fat. This could give you a more accurate picture of your child’s health.
There are many ways to test your child’s body fat to determine if it is within the normal range.
InBody devices are one of the methods for measuring your child’s body fat effectively. The technique named Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is implemented in InBody devices.
As BIA technology measures body fat in a quick, painless, and non-invasive manner, it is a safe and comfortable option for children. All your kids have to do is stand on the machine and hold the handles for less than a minute.
It can give you more insight into your child’s weight by providing their body composition information, including their body water, muscle mass, and body fat percentage. This information is useful to assess your child’s growth and health over time.
Following a comprehensive test with InBody, a complete result sheet will be printed out on which you can observe your kid’s health condition.
According to the image above, which is part of the sample printed result sheet, this normal weight child has a higher Body Fat Mass than the normal range according to the child’s gender and height.
It would be helpful if your family doctors or other healthcare professionals could assist you in interpreting the results. This information could help you learn more about your child’s health.
More importantly, you’ll be able to have a more productive discussion and make an informed decision about what you can do to prevent childhood obesity.