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When Children Snore! Is It Funny or Dangerous!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012
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His friends in 5th grade called him `Motu Rahul', just to distinguish him from the other `Genius Rahul' in 6th grade who was trim and a perennial topper in school. `Motu Rahul's' parents were getting really concerned about his extra pounds and his inability to pay attention in school. His teacher had summoned them for the third time now because yesterday Rahul had yet again fallen asleep in the middle of his mathematics class. They knew that it was because of late; he wasn't sleeping properly at night. Well, nor were they.thanks to Rahul's snoring at night.

Does your child snore?

Observations from a latest study where researchers gathered data from 700 children (between the ages of five and twelve years of age) indicate that almost 25% of the children have mild or moderate sleep-disordered breathing. (The children who participated in this study were evaluated by ENT specialists as well as using a polysomnograph (an instrument that measures sleep quality and breathing function).

The team of researchers & specialists observed that excess weight may be an important factor in sleep-disordered breathing in children, just as they are in adults. Their above-normal waist circumference and high BMI values were strong independent risk factors for their snoring and other breathing problems during sleep!

Other than sleep apnea, obese children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes) than are children and adolescents whose weight lies in the normal range.

How does a parent know if his child is obese? BMI (Body Mass Index) is the most widely accepted method used to screen for overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. It is a preferred method because it is non-invasive and correlates with body fatness. Ask your pediatrician to evaluate your child's BMI during your next visit.
What foods does your child eat more often?High-calorie foods like pizzas, burgers, hot-dogs, wafers, donuts, french fries carbonated beverages etcOffer low-fat, low-sugar, non-processed foods like fresh fruits, crunchy vegetable sticks, fruit yogurts, wholesome soups, sprouts chaat, 100% fruit juices.
Is this your child's daily routine?Breakfast is skipped, lunch is bread & butter and a FULL dinner with lots of rice, fried papads & dal.
Offer a wholesome breakfast, followed by a balanced lunch including whole wheat rotis, sabzi, dal & yogurt and then a light dinner, at least 2 hours before bedtime. Besides these meals, healthy snacking (on nuts, fruits, low-fat yogurts etc) twice or thrice a day helps prevent unhealthy weight gain. 
How does your child spend his evenings?Completes his homework and then relaxes either by watching TV or by playing video games.
Encourage him/her to participate outdoor games like football, tennis, cycling, cricket etc. As parents, lead the way by accompanying him when he plays outdoors. This way, you get to enjoy your `family' time and reap the benefits of regular physical activity.
How would you describe your meal times?1. All of us eat while watching TV
2. We insist our child to take second helpings (Come on! He/She is growing.)
3. Gobble up quickly. After a tiring day we all need a good night's rest.

1. Switch off the TV during meal times. Make meal times a family `together' time.
2. Yes, we agree your child is growing. But, he still needs only a few calories more than you do. (Kids' Nutritional Guidelines)
Teach him to control his portion sizes. Beware! Overeating can become a habit, leading to unnecessary weight gain.
3. Teach your child to chew the food thoroughly. Chewing ensures proper digestion of the food. Besides, chewing your food well enables your body to understand satiety (the feeling of fullness)
Are you, as parents, obese
(Assess yourself now)
Yes, both of us are slightly plump
Aim at reaching your ideal weights. Control intake of calories and exercise regularly. Be a good role model for your child.

As a parent, realize that obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Take preventive steps today to ensure your child grows up to be a healthy adult.

By, The Dietetic Team @

Related articles:
                          Breakfast - The Intelligent Meal
                          Has a Good Night's Rest Been Laid to Bed
                          How to keep your child's heart healthy
                          How to Be A Loser?
                          Lifestyle Diseases - A Dilemma For The Hip Indian Teen



User Comments

08 August, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Its estimated that around 3%-12% of preschool age children snore. Most of them could be overweight with no other symptoms and this is called primary snoring.

But around 2% children that snore, have obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), a condition that is increasingly recognized as leading to school and behavior problems in children. In some rare cases it could also be fatal as the children can die of choking while asleep.Either which way its good to be vigilant and get the child treated.

16 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Hello Seema,
For children and teenagers, BMI is age and gender specific. Though BMI for them (children and teenagers) is calculated the same way as is done for adults, but interpretation is done differently. Calculated BMI is plotted on BMI for age growth charts (separate for girls and boys) and percentile ranking is obtained. This percentile indicates the relative position of the child's BMI number among children of the same sex and age. The growth charts also shows the weight status categories like underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese, so one can make out the status of child’s BMI category.

Kanika Jain

16 June, 2010 | Seema | Reply

Seema How do we find out if a child's BMI is normal? Can we use the same guidelines as adults?

03 June, 2010 | Sheela | Reply

Sheela Hi,
Very true, I agree with Kanika. We are role models for our children. If we ourselves are couch potatoes, we cannot expect our children not to be so. We need to have healthy and active lifestyle first before teaching our children about it.

02 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Parents are first role models for their children. We should not only advice our children regarding healthy eating habits and physical activity but follow it ourselves too. Set an example for him to follow. If your child is not ready to play out, why don’t you go and join him and play some outdoor game like badminton or football with him, make an effort to make healthy wholesome meals for yourself and child and eat together. This will surely go a long way in improving child’s habits.

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