Before you answer this question,
look at the statistics for childhood obesity.
33% of parents who had obese teenagers,
believed their childs weight was not an issue.
75% of parents who had overweight teenagers,
Also believed their childrens weight was not an issue.
Parents do not seem to be aware of what it means to be overweight.
One in four children in the United States and United kingdom,
are overweight or obese at age 5yrs.
So maybe we should look at our children again.
Are they a bit larger than other children?
Do they wear clothes that belong to children in a higher age bracket?
Do they appear more round than other children?
If you answer yes to any of these questions,
your child is probably overweight and may even be obese.
It is our responsibility as parents to care for our childrens health.
Yet for many of us weight is a difficult issue.
If in fact we do agree our children are overweight we excuse it.
- It’s genetic.
- He’s lazy
- She loves her food
- She has an awful sweet tooth
- He doesn’t really like games
- He’s big boned
We must realise that these are excuses. They are not scientific reasons our children are overweight.
There are two reasons children are overweight,
- They are eating too much of the wrong foods.
- They are not exercising enough to balance what they have eaten.
So what can we do.
- Admit it. If your child is overweight or obese, accept it. Do not excuse it.
- Change your families diet. Note I said the families diet. Everyone in the family needs to take a balanced diet. Increase fruit and vegetables. Decrease fat, sugar and salt. Add high fibre
- Be careful of portion size. Many of our children are eating meals that are too large.
- Decrease the amount of television and computer time allowed. Modern technology,television, computer games, facebook, nintendo are all taking time away from exercise. The less we exercise the less we should be eating.
- Increase the amount of exercise. Encourage your child to walk to school, or cycle if possible. Ensure they are spending enough time outdoors. Join them up to sports clubs.
- Instill healthy eating habits. Only allow your children to eat at the table, not watching television. Discourage them from eating or snacking late at night. Do not equate food with reward or comfort. All these will help them later in life to maintain healthy eating habits.
- Do not push your child to finish their meal. Instead praise them when they say they have had enough.
Many of us parents shy away from discussing weight or poor eating habits with our children. We are afraid in case we affect our childrens self esteem. We worry in case we send them down the road of bulimia or anorexia.
However if our children are obese or overweight, there is a very real risk of that continuing into adulthood. This added weight has a large bearing on their future health and happiness.
It has been discovered that children as young as ten are showing signs of coronary disease. In reality this means, parents who do not tackle the issue of overweight in childhood are shortening their childrens lives.
So starting today.
Look at your chlildren closely.
Look at what you are feeding them,
Be mindful of what they are eating,.
Ask yourself “could they be eating too much?”
“Could my child be overweight?”
Centre for disease control and prevention
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