Fighting Obesity Starts at Childhood

Twenty-eight percent of Australian kids (ages 2-17) are overweight or obese. Gaining weight at an early age is a concerning matter since losing weight after the age of 18 becomes significantly harder. Raise your kids to be fit and give them a healthier and happier future.

Dangers of Obesity

Close to 10 percent of health problems in Australia are attributed to obesity, and those are conservative numbers. A third of Australians are overweight, and another third can be considered obese. Obesity leads to a host of problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, liver disease, kidney disease, sleep apnea, increased risk of strokes, and even pregnancy problems. While these problems develop later in life and might not be an immediate concern for your children, the mental, emotional, and societal impacts of obesity can hit them early in life. Obese children are 50-60 percent more likely to be the target of bullying by peers, family, and friends, leading to feelings of shame that can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and even suicide. School teachers subconsciously lower their expectations towards obese kids, which can dissuade them from studying hard or exclude them from academic opportunities.

Diet Matters

Snacks contribute to more than 25 percent of children’s caloric intake – more than breakfast (18 percent) or lunch (24 percent). Snacks are usually unhealthy and filled with sugars or grains. Sweets, chocolates, soft drinks, fruit drinks, chips, ice cream, and almost any other snack your kid consumes will be loaded with calories. Try to keep snacks at a minimum, or at least offer healthy alternatives. Choose yogurt over ice cream and cheese over chocolate. Instead of chips, give your kids a bag of popcorn. Cut carbs and introduce more protein into their meals. Children only crave snacks between meals when they’re hungry, so make sure you have a couple of sandwiches (turkey, cheese, or peanut butter) ready to go.

Real Play

Aside from diet, technology is the most significant factor affecting childhood obesity. Television, computer games, tablet, and phone apps – children spend four hours or more glued to one of these screens. Two hundred twenty-four thousand children in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and other parts of Queensland are already overweight or obese. Cut down on your kids’ screen time and get them to enjoy actual play. Take your children to the playground – one with large play structures that they can climb or just run around in. Introduce them to sports and competitive play. Getting them to join a team sport gets them to socialize with kids their age while also burning a lot of calories. Teach them how to swim or learn with them. Swimming is one of the best activities for burning calories, and most kids love being in the water. If you can’t pry your kids off their video games, then get a VR set or motion controllers. They’re still playing video games, but they’re also getting a bit of exercise.

Raising your kid to be healthy starts at an early age. A healthy childhood increases their chances of staying healthy as they grow up. Lead by example and try to give them a healthy and active lifestyle.


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