The World Health Organisation has warned that we are facing ‘a global obesity epidemic’. The organisation recently discovered that the number of overweight children and teens has increased tenfold over the last 40 years.
Obesity and excessive weight problems pose a significant risk to children’s physical health including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and their mental wellbeing, including lack of confidence and feelings of depression.
NHS research shows that children of a healthy weight tend to be fitter, more confident and better able to learn. With this in mind, try to provide your growing child with a balanced diet and encourage them to do as much physical activity as possible. Experts recommend 60 minutes of exercise per day. These 60 minutes can be dispersed throughout the day in shorter bursts.
Encourage your child with active play and consider introducing them to a new sport or pastime like football or dancing. Keep an eye on their portion sizes; young children should be eating far less than their teenage siblings and parents. Try to stamp out harmful parenting habits, for example, avoid occupying your child with food during long journeys—this can lead to over snacking. Instead use a sing-along CD or interactive game to keep them occupied. Special occasions, whilst being a time for enjoyment, shouldn’t endorse binge eating. Make it clear that your child can have a maximum of one or two treats during their outing.
Check the labels of food products when shopping and avoid overly processed
food items. Try to reduce how often your family eats in front of the TV. Being distracted during mealtimes can cause children to ignore their body’s signals to stop eating.