What is promoting the rise in childhood obesity?
There are a number of factors influencing the rise in childhood obesity, such as:
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Lack of active outdoor safe play which has been traded for home computers & video games
- Due to hectic lifestyles, children are no longer required to sit at the table to eat meals; instead family meals may be consumed in front of the TV, prompting children to gulp their food and perhaps not realise when they are full.
- Children coming home to an empty house, for the most part developing undisciplined snacking routines.
- Families rushing home from work may elect the convenience of frozen foods for their young families.
- Television ads enticing young minds to desire foods that lead to obesity.
- The opportunity to 'up size' fast foods the 'problem calorie trap'.
Childhood obesity is the most common health problem for small children. Obesity in children is not a selective problem, it occurs world-wide. Childhood obesity although prevalent does not mean that a child who is obese is readily accepted by his or her peers. An overweight child may be subjected to bullying, teasing, and taunts. An obese child may suffer from low self-esteem and sometimes may even struggle with suicidal thoughts.
What can you do?
If your child is overweight consider:
- Looking at ways to increase their daily activity, i.e. encourage your child to participate in active sports
- Limit computer time
- Begin eating meals at the dinner table without the distraction of television
- Go for daily walks with your child, explore the neighborhood
- Read food labels carefully
- When it comes to grocery shopping, plan carefully…haste makes 'waist'
If you do have concerns about your child's eating habits don't hesitate to consult with our GPs who will offer the support and advice you may need.