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Childhood Obesity

Sanjeevanam Childhood Obesity

Ayurvedic Treatment for Childhood Obesity in Kerala

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian system of medicine that offers holistic treatments for childhood obesity. It focuses on the root cause of the issue, rather than just treating the symptoms. Ayurveda practiced in Kerala is known for its authentic treatments, including ayurveda for childhood obesity. There are a number of ayurvedic hospitals in Cochin that offer various herbal ayurvedic medicines for childhood obesity. Do note that there are no quick-fix solutions as far as obesity and ayurveda are concerned.

What is Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a serious health issue that can affect the child’s physical health, self-esteem and social and emotional wellbeing. Pediatric obesity or teenage obesity refers to the condition where the child is significantly overweight as compared to their age and height. Such kids have a higher BMI – which is a measure of body fat, based on weight and height.
Childhood weight gain and loss are a given as the child grows, however it can become a problem when the weight gain persists. Improper management of childhood obesity can end up with health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breathing difficulties as well as joint problems. It can even result in stroke, heart disease and some types of cancers.
A number of factors can contribute towards childhood obesity including genetic, dietary, environmental and behavioral aspects. For childhood obesity prevention, reduce your child’s screen time, unhealthy foods and get them outdoors and more active.

Signs & Symptoms of Childhood Obesity

While not all obese children end up manifesting symptoms, here is a look at some common signs and symptoms associated with childhood obesity:

  • 01 Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • 02 Fatigue or low energy levels when it comes to physical activities
  • 03 Joint pain or stiffness, generally limited movements
  • 04 Snoring while sleeping or difficulty falling asleep
  • 05 Depression or feelings of low self-esteem
  • 06 Acanthosis nigricans - Darkening or thickening of the skin folds around the neck
  • 07 Swelling in the face
  • 08 High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
  • 09 Deviant lifestyle habits due to limited activity
  • 010 BMI at/above 95th percentile for children with same age/gender

Causes of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a complex issue attributable to multiple causes and should likewise be treated with a multi-pronged approach. Here’s a look at some common causes of childhood obesity:


Family history and genetics can contribute towards childhood obesity


Sedentary lifestyles with too much time spent sitting/lying down and limited physical activity.


Socio-economic factors like low-income families with limited access to healthy foods


Some medical conditions and hormonal factors can contribute too


Overeating and unhealthy diets rich in high-calorie foods are a major culprit


Sometimes psychological factors like insecurity and low self-esteem can also trigger overeating and childhood obesity.

Childhood Obesity Prevention

Childhood obesity can have short-term and long-term ill effects on health and it’s important to look for ways to prevent it from happening. A comprehensive approach towards preventing childhood obesity includes regular exercise, limiting screen time, healthier eating habits and addressing their emotional wellbeing. Here are some tips on preventing childhood obesity:

  • 01 Develop healthy eating habits for the whole family. Include more of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
  • 02 Help children stay active by getting them to participate in outdoor activities and organized sport for 60 minutes on a daily basis.
  • 03 Promote breastfeeding as it’s known to reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
  • 04 Address the emotional wellbeing of the child and help them deal with stress or depression so it doesn’t spill over into comfort eating.
  • 05 Reduce sedentary time by limiting the time your kids spend in front of a screen.
  • 06 Finally, partner with healthcare providers to monitor your child’s health.

Ayurvedic remedies for Obesity in children

The ancient science of ayurveda teaches about leading wholesome lifestyles and using natural remedies to treat various conditions, including childhood obesity. In ayurveda, ‘atisthoulya’ is another name for obesity; however, do note that ayurveda doesn’t offer any quick-fix remedies about atisthoulya, but rather advises long-term changes to lifestyles and diets to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Here is a look at some ayurvedic remedies for childhood obesity:

Palliative (Shamana) treatments

Fasting or Langhan


Oral digestives to aid fat metabolism (Ama pachan)


Filling and low-calorie diets (like salads)


Ruksha Udwartan or dry medicated powder massages


Physical and mental activities

Purificatory stage (Samshodhana Chikitsa)

Panchakarma therapy, which includes therapeutic emesis or vaman, purgation therapy (virechan), medicated enema (vasti), etc., are a good place to begin the purificatory treatment of obese children.


Start the day with drinking warm water mixed with honey and lime as it’s believed to improve digestion. The child should consume less oily foods along with this.


Some of the single drugs that are known to be effective in treatment of childhood obesity include Sunthi, Musta, Guduchi, Vidanga, Vacca, daruharidra, etc.


Guggulu is a natural resin produced by the guggul tree. It is well-known for boosting metabolism and burning fat.


Based on the need, there are compound formulations too to promote weight loss. These include Triphala churna, vidangadi churna, Navayasa lauha, Arogya vardhini vati, etc.


Deep tissue herbal oil massages can also improve circulation, improve metabolism and boost fat loss.


Physical activities and yoga are beneficial in treating childhood obesity too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do beverages factor into childhood obesity?

Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is believed to be a key contributor to the current epidemic of obesity in children, and are a favorite drink of choice for millions of kids around the world. Consuming these sugary drinks increases the risk of excessive weight gain, tooth decay and other preventable diseases in adulthood such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What is pediatric obesity and what causes it?

Body weight is maintained by physiological mechanisms that maintain a balance between energy consumed and energy burnt. Childhood obesity occurs when there is an imbalance between these two factors, with the surplus energy ending up stored as body fat. Childhood obesity is generally caused by excessive consumption of unhealthy food, high-calorie beverages, limited physical activities as well as medical and genetic factors.

How do you know if your child is overweight?

The best way to tell if your child is obese is by calculating their BMI (body mass index). The BMI calculator employs a formula that uses the child’s body weight relative to their height, to produce a score that tells whether the child is overweight. The child is considered obese if his/her BMI is at/above 95th percentile for children with same age/gender.

Is childhood obesity a disease?

On its own, childhood obesity is not a disease, and doesn’t guarantee that the child will develop other health conditions in the future. However, it should be kept in mind that obesity itself can become a precursor for other medical conditions and lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, breathing problems, etc.

What can I eat for ayurvedic detox?

For ayurvedic detox, you can eat vegetarian foods that are not processed but are freshly cooked. Easily digestible foods rich in probiotics, fiber and Indian spices are ideal during a detox. Non-vegetarian foods, oily foods, alcohol and coffee are best avoided.

Best Ayurvedic Treatment for Childhood Obesity in Kerala

Kerala is known for its rich verdant beauty as well as for its use of traditional ayurveda, an ancient medical science that has been in existence for around 5000 years. Childhood obesity treatment in Kerala is based on a comprehensive approach, including dietary and lifestyle modifications, herbal medications as well as deep massages.

Based on each individual child’s body type, authentic childhood obesity ayurvedic treatments include some of the following:

  • 01 Panchakarma is a combination of detoxification and cleansing therapies used to prepare the body for further ayurvedic treatments. In pediatric obesity treatment, this would also include therapies that boost digestion and promote weight loss.
  • 02 Udwarthanam also forms part of the ayurvedic treatment for childhood obesity programs and is a deep massage performed using herbal powders. These help to stimulate metabolism, improve circulation, reduce body fat and form a part of childhood obesity cure.
  • 03 Early childhood obesity can also be treated by following an ayurvedic diet that is easy to digest, nourishing as well as low-calorie. More of whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables are encouraged while processed and packaged foods that are high in unhealthy fats, salts and sugars, are discouraged.
  • 04 Ayurveda also offers herbal childhood obesity medications that help in boosting weight loss. These include ayurvedic herbs such as Guggulu, Triphala, Sunthi, Kutki, Musta, Guduchi, Vidanga. While some may be used singly, others can be used in combined formulations - depending on the child’s individual needs. These should best be administered under the guidance of an experienced ayurvedic practitioner.
  • 05 Yoga has been in the news lately and is ideal for both promoting weight loss as well as improving overall health. Some of the helpful asanas that an obese child can practice include Surya Namaskar, Paschimottanasana and Bhujangasana. What’s more, these yoga asanas can also be used to prevent childhood obesity.


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