Beat Childhood Obesity

Amelia Phillips

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These numbers shocked me, and will probably shock you too.

1 in 3 kids are overweight in America; and one-quarter of children in Australia are obese.

These alarming figures are enough for us to jump out of our seats and take an action against childhood obesity. While it might provoke anxiety in most of us, these figures made a Manhattan mum put her 7-year-old daughter on a Weight Watchers-style diet, so she wouldn’t gain the extra kilos.

Dara-Lynn Weiss wrote about this extreme case of childhood dieting in the April issue of Vogue U.S., where she claims that she wanted her daughter, Bea, to eat like a small girl and not “adult

sized plates of food”. Controversy and hatred for the mother and her parenting decisions ensued, of course. But bringing this discussion closer to home, there is no denying in the fact that American and Australian children are, in fact, sitting in the mouth of obesity.

How do we change this?

  1. Lead by example: Work with your children to eliminate food groups that can be addictive and harmful. If you don’t want your child to eat something, then you don’t eat it. Eat healthy as a family, and not as an individual.
  2. ‘Treat’ smartly: A treat here and there is OK, but don’t make an icrecream on the way home from school EVERYDAY a habit. Offer them new treats that are healthier options, and let them develop a taste for it.
  3. Move outdoors: Sure Singstar and Guitar Hero are great, but make sure outdoors are part of your lifestyle. Especially during the weekends, when the kids have more time in their hands.
  4. Don’t use the word diet: The minute you use the word “diet”, you’re filtering a phenomenon of restriction and barriers in your child’s young mind. Call it “healthy eating” “super strong super food” or a “lifestyle” – don’t give it tags that are used profusely in the media circuit.

I sat down in a panel of three to talk about childhood obesity and self-esteem on Mornings9. See the video at the link above.

What are your thoughts about childhood obesity? Is it something that concerns you, or do you think we needn’t worry?

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