What is obesity?
Obesity is defined as having an unhealthy amount of body fat. Overweight is defined as an excess amount of body weight as compared to an acceptable body weight. The common tool to measure obesity and overweight is the body mass index (BMI). It measures body weight In relation to height. A BMI may indicate a person is overweight, but it could indicate a person is overweight, but it could be due to lean muscle and not excess body fat (such as with an athlete).
Obesity in children
Developmental obesity – this category of obesity begins in the early years of a child’s life and continues steadily over the adult year. Hence, the foundation has already set in by the time the child is about four years old. The cells become saturated with fat and as the child grows older, more and more fat accumulates in the body. Muscle and bone mass also increases since the body has to carry additional weight. Such children usually grow tall, look older for their age and are obese right through infancy even up to their adult years. This type of obesity results in a higher lean body mass along with the fat.
Reactionary obesity – this type develops due to periods of emotional stress in a child’s life. During such stress periods the child may overeat resulting in increase in weight. However, since these periods are intermittent, the weight also reflects up and down.
Causes of obesity in children
Causes of childhood obesity with obesity, environmental and hereditary factors play the major role. In only 5 to 10 percent cases endocrine, syndromic or CNS causes are implicated. The causes of childhood obesity may be following:
ü Environmental – decreased activity. Increased calorie intake, TV viewing.
ü Endocrine –GHD, hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, PHP
ü Genetic syndromes- prodder-Willi, Laurence-Moon-Biedi, turner.
ü CNS lesions – infection, surgery, radiation, craniopharyngioma
ü Miscellaneous-steroids, anti=epileptics.
Majority of children with obesity do not have an organic cause, these children grow normally and are tall for their age. They have proportional obesity and normal development. Important environmental influences include excessive calorie intake, sedentary life style, television viewing and playing computer games. It is important to identify this subgroup of children so as to avoid unnecessary investigations.
Cushing syndrome is characterized by central obesity, hypertension, strie and retarded skeletol maturation.
Hypothyroidism is an extremely rare cause of isolated obesity. In most of these cases obesity is an additional feature to the other more prominent manifestations like short stature, developmental delay and coarse skin.
In GHD and PHP, growth retardation and hypocalcemia are dominant clinical features and obesity is a less prominent clinical feature. It is important to focus that an endocrine cause of obesity in children is usual in a child with normal height and skeletol maturation. (See our Height Calculator)
A variety of genetic syndromes have obesity as their major clinical feature. Klinefelter and Turner syndromes are readily identifiable by their clinical characteristics. May of these syndromes are associated with Hypogonadism or hypotonia.
CNS insults in the form of surgery, radiation, tumors, and trauma present with rapid onset obesity. These disorders are associated with excessive appetite, signs and symptoms of CNS involvement and other hypothalamic-pituitary defects.
Homeopathic treatment of childhood obesity
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat childhood obesity but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat obesity in children that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of obesity in children:
Kali Bi, Graphites, Ferrum Met, Kali Carb, Phytolacca, Capsicum, Calcaria Carb, Aconite, Ambra Gresia, Antim Crude, Sulphur, Lycopodium, Phosphorous, Natrum Carb, Calcaria Ars, Arsenic Album, Cantharis, Ammonium Carb, Carbo Veg, Crocus Sativus, Digitalis, Pulsatilla, Bryonia, Bromium, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Camphor, Baryta Carb, Sabadilla, Rhus Tox, Magnesia Phos, Lachesis, Platina, Sepia, China and many other medicines.