People are becoming fatter in most countries around the world. Obesity continues to rise at alarming rates from the UK and US to Brazil and South Africa. But perhaps the most worrying trend, is the number of children who are becoming clinically obese.
In the UK, almost 28% of children are now thought to be overweight. Around the world, 43 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010.
The cause of this childhood obesity problem is eating the wrong foods, portions sizes, and a lack of exercise. Children are following increasingly poor diets with too many fast food meals, fizzy drinks, and sugary snacks.
Potion sizes for children have also increased dramatically over the last ten years. Although, children need to eat a considerable amount to fuel growth and development, we are feeding our children far too much.
Children in developed countries are also becoming increasingly inactive. School children in the UK get the lowest amount of physical activity of any country in Europe. Too much time is spend watching television, playing video games, and sitting in front of computers.
When you combine poor food choices, large portion sizes, and reduced activity, childhood obesity is inevitable. And a large number of children who are obese, continue to struggle with their weight throughout their adult lives.
If you are concerned that your child is becoming overweight, don't hesitate to make changse to their diet, eating habits, and activity levels. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to address the problem.
In terms of food and exercise, you should try to adopt the following ten rules:
- eat at least five portions of a fruit and vegetables each day
- eat plenty of fibre-rich foods such as beans, grains and brown rice and pasta
- eat basis starchy foods in meals such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta
- avoid foods that are high in fat or high in calories such as fried foods
- reduce the amount of sugary foods consumed such as fizzy juice, sweets, biscuits and chocolate.
- maintain sensible portion sizes of both meals and snacks
- encourage daily activities such as walking or cycling
- reduce sedentary activities such as television watching or computer game playing
- encourage the participation in sports or other active recreational activities
- be more active as a family and set a good example for your child.
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