Obesity is an issue. It is affecting children and adults alike and EVERYONE needs to play their part. It is time to stamp it out. It is strangling our already struggling health service and it is something we can proactively stop.
Jamie Oliver has been working tirelessly on the topic of childhood obesity, getting parents, schools and Government to sit up and take note.
What causes a child to become overweight or obese?
Medical reasons can sometimes play a part in childhood obesity such as underactive thyroid glands however the vast majority of children become overweight or obese due to consuming more calories than they use. The 3 main areas of concern are:
Genetic: This may play a small role in the ability to gain weight however it is unlikely to be a major reason as genetics, over the years, have not changed substantially to warrant the kind of increase we have seen in childhood obesity.
Behavioural: These play a much larger role in childhood obesity and include food portions, take away meals (types of food), increased sugar content, decrease in outdoor activities (or even sporting activities in school).
Environmental: Children are affected and influenced by their surroundings so if they are around people with poor eating habits they are more likely to fall into the same pattern. Also, children have longer periods of time away from the home environment (pre-school clubs, school, post-school clubs, etc) and are more likely to be eating on the go.If healthy foods are not prepared & packed for them they are more likely to be snacking wherever they are.
How do you know if your child is overweight or obese?
There are established guidelines based on Body Mass Index (BMI), as used for adults. BMI uses height and weight to determine the category of the child and the rule of thumb is If you child’s BMI is greater than 85 percent of children who are the same age and same-sex (boy or girl), then your child is overweight. If the BMI is greater than 95 percent, then your child is obese.
How can you prevent your child becoming overweight or obese?
Prevention will always be better than cure. The key things to consider are the types of food your children eat, the frequency and volume they eat and the amount of activity they are participating in on a daily basis. Consider variety, fruit & vegetables as daily additions, fewer sugary products and where possible, family time meals. It is also essential for them to have 30 minutes of daily physical activity (and that does not include the thumb workout on gaming devices or mobile phones!)
Our children’s health matters; they are the future; let’s help them have a long and healthy one!
Childhood obesity; stamp it out!
One Life, Live It Well,