Beating Obesity in Children

Written by David McCarthy, Australia

Obesity in children is the biggest challenge facing parents in these early years of the twenty-first century and this article is designed to take a long hard look at the reasons.

Over the past 30 years children, and population in general, have been heading deeper into an obesity pattern, just as hours spent watching television or sitting in front of a computer have risen proportionately. In fact the graphs for obesity and television/computer sitting rise almost in unison, so there is little doubt that the two are linked.

The challenge that faces parents is to tempt their children away from passive activities into action activities. A child gains more from chasing a ball in a local park than they do from TV or the internet, so the first question you should ask of yourself is: "Am I doing enough to ensure my child achieves the basic level of sporting activity?"

It is parents that have created this situation by spending too much time at work at the expense of their children and therefore it is parents who must correct the situation. The next thing that needs looking at is diet. A burger, pizza or some other take-home meal is fine as a once a month treat but not as a basic diet.

There is a food pyramid indicating what we should eat to remain healthy and we should all be doing our utmost to follow the recommendations if we are truly interested in maintaining a healthy and long life.

Parents that I've met have made a pyramid of excuses why they can't get their children into sport and physical activity, why they can't get them to eat healthy food etc. But they all have one thing in common; they are just excuses that try to convince them that there is no problem.

The problem isn't in the children; it is a parental problem because when a parent states: 'I've tried everything but it doesn't work.' They are really saying; 'My children call the shots and lack respect for me and my judgement.'

Think about it for a moment.

  • Isn't it the role of a parent to give guidance to a child?
  • Isn't diet and activity guidance that will lead to a long healthy life a worthwhile goal for a parent?
  • Do you think that a child truly respects a person that constantly gives in to them?
  • If your child doesn't learn to respect advice from people with greater experience what chance do they have at school or work?

There is a whole list of other questions but I think the few above are enough for now. It is not cruel to children to feed them a healthy diet and a healthy, but fun, exercise routine.

I leave it to you to answer the alternative question: Is it kind to make your children unhealthy because doing the right thing takes a little effort at times? It is the healthy, well adjusted, children who will show most love to their parents in years to come.

The secret is to make life fun and you have to be healthy to enjoy fun to the fullest.

This article is copyright©David McCarthy 2006 and may be reproduced in its entirety with no additions or deletions providing a link back to is included.

This article reflects the views of the author and is not meant to be medical advice. As with anything dealing with your health, you should see a medical professional for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of specific health problems.

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