On the news this morning was a report about Childhood Obesity and the scary statistic that 1 in 5 children leaving primary school are obese.
This is becoming a major concern as not only are these children struggling to get into clothes that will fit them, it can and in some cases is leading to some major health concerns - Asthma, Type II Diabetes and Sleep Apnoea being only some of them. These health concerns will only get worse as they get older unless something is done to change the situation.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century. Obese children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing various health problems, and are also more likely to become obese adults.”
There are some simple ways of helping your child become healthier such as getting more active and eating well.
Children often learn by example, so being a good role model is a great way to encourage your child to be more active. Which is a good thing for you as well. You cannot expect your child to eat healthily and get plenty of exercise if you are sitting on the sofa eating pizza.
Encouraging active play is a good way of getting at least hours physical activity a day for your child. Simple things like kicking a ball around and walking the dog.
I am not saying that all of a sudden you should sell the car and eat lettuce everyday, but small changes everyday can all add up. If you do them all as a family then everyone gains from it, and it is not a diet or punishment, but something the whole family would do and enjoy.
Here a just a few ideas of how you can become a healthier family
Encourage everyone to drink more water and less sugary drinks, including fizzy, sports, and milk drinks with added sugar. Why not get a jug of water and add fresh fruit to it for flavoured water. Get a Soda Stream to make some fizzy water and experiment with adding different fruits/juices.
Eat meals at the table together, without the TV so you can all enjoy your food together and chat about your day
Encourage your child to get involved with family activities, walking the dog, helping in the garden, washing the car, walking to the shops or even a family bike ride
Eat breakfast everyday, find something your child likes, but avoid sugary cereals. Porridge, eggs, home made smoothies. You are less likely to want to snack or make unhealthy choices if you start the day with breakfast.
Try to find other things to do in the house rather than let them reach for the TV or computer. Family baking, making things, going to the park together, give them their own patch in the garden to look after.
If, as a family you love a takeaway, then try to make them a healthier choice. Tomato based sauces instead of cream, lower fat pizza toppings (less salami/pepperoni and more vegetable/prawn/ham) and avoid the stuffed crust. Don’t eat all the chips and batter on the fish.
Don’t pile the plates up and encourage them to eat it all. Start with a small plate and if they eat everything, then let them ask for more. Make sure the plate is balanced with vegetables/salad and not just the carbs!