It seems that we spent the first months and years of our
children’s lives obsessing about getting them to eat enough and put
weight on. Just when we start to relax we have to worry about them
eating too much and keeping weight off. You only have to look around you
to see that children are carrying more fat that they used to. 27.9% of
children between the ages of 2 and 10 are now overweight or obese. The
likelihood is that without intervention they will continue to gain weight
and suffer from obesity by adulthood. Obesity carries many health risks,
but also terrible social pressures, and children and adults are likely to
suffer from low self esteem, social exclusion and depression.
Health Risks to Children:
• Type 2 diabetes, Hypertension, Sleep apnea, Asthma, Breathing
problems, High blood cholesterol, Psychological disorders, such as
depression, due to social stigmatization
Health Risks to Adults:
• Type 2 diabetes , Heart disease, Stroke, Hypertension,
Gallbladder disease, Osteoarthritis, Sleep apnea, Asthma, Breathing
problems, Certain cancers (colon, endometrial, kidney, esophageal, and
postmenopausal breast), High blood cholesterol, Complications of
pregnancy, Psychological disorders, such as depression, due to social
stigmatization, Premature death
It can be difficult and worrying for parents to admit that their
children are overweight. If you are worried that your child is
overweight he first port of call is to visit the family GP on your own.
Then there is lots of support and advice out there to help families
change. It is important to try and change the overall eating patterns and
activity levels of the family as a whole without letting the child feel
singled out. Often it can be useful to ask the family to help support
you in a new healthy living programme, again so attention is deflected
from the child. The key to helping an overweight child is to encourage
and support, to flatter and reward all of their good points and make them
feel special, seccure and confident. Here are some basic tips to be
used in conjunction with seeking advice from your GP;
• Change the lifestyle and eating habits of the whole family.
• Make it easy to access good healthy food in small portions.
Throw out the bad stuff, and stop buying it.
• There is a strong link between television watching and weight
problems, so encourage the entire familly to watch less TV.
• Set aside some more time to be with them persuing activities
such as a kick-about.
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