Child obesity – what do we do about it?

Child obesity – what do we do about it?

Everywhere we turn, we hear about obesity- its prevalence, its negative effect on our economy, on our health, our self-esteem. Yet obesity is on the rise. So where are we going wrong?

According to data from the National Child Measurement Programme, nearly 1 in 10 children between the ages of 4 and 5 years are obese, with just over 1 in 10 being overweight. That means that nearly a quarter of all reception-aged children are overweight or obese.

Unfortunately it doesn’t get better as children get older. By the time they reach year 6, 1 in 5 children are obese with again just over 1 in 10 being overweight. That’s a staggering 35% of children being overweight or obese by the time they are in year 6. That’s a huge percentage, and unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of this slowing down. So what do we do?

There are lots of variables involved in childhood obesity, but there are two main culprits: poor diet and lack of exercise. As parents, it is our duty to ensure that we are giving our children all they require to grow both physically and mentally, and that we do so to the best of our abilities. So what do we do? First of all, it is important to understand that our current lifestyles will dictate the changes we need to make. We want to make sustainable changes, so there is no point throwing everything out of the pantry and taking up every gym class around, it won’t last.

My tips would be:
– eat your family meals together (at a table!)
– ensure you have a colourful meal
– spend time outdoors- going for a walk, climbing trees, building dens, kicking a ball…
– try a new activity- both yourself and your child, if you’re active, your children will continue to be active too.

Hopefully, by changing a few habits, we will start to reduce this completely preventable chronic disease of childhood.

Coach Anne Lise

       

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