Our Children are Growing Fatter…
Who is responsible for our overweight children?
We all know and recognise that many of our children are becoming fatter. We know the health problems this causes and the issues in regards to bullying and self-esteem problems our children suffer as a result. In Australia, one in five children are either overweight or obese. From 1985 to 1995 the number of overweight 7–15 year olds almost doubled. The number of obese children continues to escalate. At the current rate, it is predicted that 65 per cent of young Australians will be overweight or obese by 2020. (betterhealth.gov.au). This is shameful. While we all know these figures are correct and we have a huge push on eating healthy, low fat foods and more exercise that we know is important – I ask then, why is the problem escalating rather than declining?
Who Is Making Our Kids Fat?
Children cannot shop, prepare or serve their food – parents do this for them. Parents choose the foods, serve the portions of food and make choices on the types of foods their children consume and in the amounts that are provided. We therefore expect the problem to be a Parenting issue, do we not? There have been arguments about life being too busy to shop and prepare a meal, healthy foods being too expensive, knowledge and education about foods are not known, but these are just excuses. There is so much information for people to access in regards to food selection and choice, the difference between good foods and bad, between fatty foods and natural. Is it simply a question of laziness on the part of the parent? I believe we all would like to think that parents do in fact care for their children and care about their child’s health and wellbeing, so let me ask, Why then are parents seeming to be deliberately causing their children to be overweight, unhealthy and open to ridicule and bullying due to weight issues? Surely a parent cares enough for their child to ensure they are brought up responsibly, healthy, and to protect and educate their child about healthy choices for their life.
We Should Know What Healthy Eating Is
Our children throughout pre-school, primary and high school are all educated about food choice, the good and bad foods and the sometimes foods. Children all seem to know this information however due to their age they are yet to understand the results of bad food choices. It is up to the parents to instill this knowledge. As previously said, it is not the children who shop, purchase, prepare and serve the meal, it is the parent. An obese child is not a healthy child. There is no such thing as being big boned. There is no such thing as a child will only eat McDonalds or Pizza. These are excuses not reasons. Children are born active little people, they usually love to run around, to explore their world and experience everything they can. They were not designed to excessively eat and they were certainly not designed to be overfed and to eat refined, high sugar, high fat foods. This is purely at the will and decision of the parent. How can we stop this, the question we have been struggling with for a long time it seems?
5 Top Tips to ensure your child remains a healthy weight and size
This is vital for their development both physically and emotionally. 1. Provide a range of healthy foods for your child so they can experience a variety of tastes, colour and texture. We are lucky in Australia to have access to such a large variety of good wholesome foods. 2. Always eat at the table. Ensure the television is off so family members can talk, eat and enjoy their time together. 3. Do not expect your child to clear their plate of food every meal. As long as they eat a good amount this is sufficient. 4. Dessert is a treat given on occasions and never offered if they have not eaten a good portion of their main meal. 5. Understand that the parent is the parent and decides on foods and portions served. Ensure the parent models healthy eating. If a child refuses to eat their meal do not concern yourself thinking they will die of starvation. When the child is hungry, you simply offer their meal again. A child will always do what is in their best interest and if they are hungry, they will eat. A child refusing to eat is telling the parent “I am in charge and will dictate what I want and when I want it” this is never acceptable and fails to teach the child a good eating pattern. This may also lead to a life time of weight issues and we all want to avoid that.