Obesity in Children.

Given that one in ten young people, aged between five and 19 is obese, we thought it might be a good idea to look at how you can keep healthy. Obviously, it’s a difficult thing to do, to either admit you’re overweight or tell your child they’re overweight. Even slimmer people are bigger than they would have been 10 years ago.

Prof Mary Rudolf, a consultant paediatrician, who advises the government on obesity, said that a healthy child’s ribs ‘should be clearly visible’ and that ‘many parents would consider that such a child was quite underweight.’

Fast food places are often to blame for obesity in children. Or is it down to the parent taking the kid there?

The biggest problem is admitting that there is a problem. The ‘most robust’ way, is to check the child’s BMI (body mass index), to see if their weight falls within the healthy range for their height, according to the Department of Health. All children are measured for their BMI in reception, when they are aged four to five, then once again in year six, aged 10 to 11. This is under the National Child Measurement Programme.

So what can you do? If you or your child is indeed overweight?

Well, it’s not the end of the world, but you now just have to do a little extra work when looking at what you eat and what they eat.

Vegetable soup anyone?

One of the best ways to help your child lose weight and be healthier would be to lead by example. Children learn by copying, essentially, so if you change your diet for something healthier, they will likely follow suit. If you yourself are trying to lose weight, again just make those little changes to your diet. Less fatty foods, more vitamins and minerals, you dig?

Another massive thing would be where your child, or you, get your sugar from. Things like sugary drinks, energy drinks, chocolate or crisps can seem tempting when you’re feeling snacky, but it’s these things that contribute to the problem.

Energy drinks are packed full of sugar, taurine, caffeine and other nasty things that make you stay awake until 4 am.

In the average 500ml bottle of something like Pepsi, there are 56 grams of sugar.  And you’re putting that into your body, my dude. Things that are marketed toward kids like cereal and Nutella are pumped full of sugar too. The average serving of something like Coco Pops has 10.5g of sugar.

Plus, any food company that tells you what your recommended sugar intake is? Yeah, probably lying so you’ll eat their products. The average child takes in about 6-9 teaspoons of sugar. The actual intake should be no more than 4 teaspoons. So, it could be the case that by breakfast you or your child has already had their sugar intake of the day.

Imagine the clean up after that. It’s poignant but messy.

There are also the obvious ways to stay healthy like getting outside, exercising and having a varied day. A bit hypocritical considering that this is coming from a guy who spends at least 7 hours a day on a computer but still.

So yeah, parents, if you lead a healthy lifestyle, your child will likely follow suit. Engage in activities, look online for tasty healthy recipes and swap out the snack for things like nuts and fruit.

I like munching on a big ol’ watermelon. But not honeydew. Honeydew is the worst.