According to Vancouver Sun: “Obesity among children and adolescents is tracking at an even faster pace than obesity among adults, and obesity-related health complications are now occurring in ever-younger children”
Why is being obese such a problem? Well because it is not just being overweight that is the concern it is everything that comes along with it such as cardiac problems, joints problems and just not feeling good period. Vancouver Sun also looked into numerous studies. This one looked at Canadians in Ontario: “One study, based on nearly 29,000 Ontario adults — half of whom were either overweight or obese — found that the obese were twice as likely to have three or more medical conditions than the normal-weight. They were more likely to be taking cardiac drugs and other medications and to be hospitalized.”
We hear all the time that obesity rates are on the rise in Canada, but when our children are climbing faster than the adults in this country it becomes an even bigger concern. When a child is obese right from the start, it takes a huge toll on their little bodies putting much strain on their organs and getting their hormones all out of balance. If all they know is how to eat processed foods, they are more likely to continue unhealthy eating habbits as they get older. Breaking these habbits are so difficult and studies show it is much more unlikely for habbits to change if they grow up only knowing boxed food.
Rather than just talking about how scary this epidemic is, let’s talk about some solutions to create some CHANGE. First of all build a childs confidence is number one! Body image issues are also a problem. So while they are learning about what obesity is and there is no doubt that a child who is obese knows it. They hear it from the other kids and even nasty comments can come from the extending family. Knowing this is the first step to creating a change.
Steps to Creating Awareness and Change in Childhood Obesity:
- Create confidence in your child. This is the most important step! Make them feel good about making the change. Empower your child rather than scare tactics.
- Make a family health action plan. Check out the resources that are available to you. The Government of Canada’s Health page is a great place to start.
- Ask your child what physical fun activites they would like to explore? Getting your child on a treadmill may not be the best approach, find a family activity that all can enjoy. An example would be badminton. It is a sport that you only need 2 players to start but can have up to 4, also it is a sport that almost anyone can play right from the start, but there is lots of room for improvement if you child ends up wanting to do it more competitively. Also, badminton is a sport that is inexpensive. You can play it outside in a park or even your backyard, but on rainy days you can go to a rec centre in your community.
- Talk to your school and find out what is available for lifestyle activities. If it is still only offering traditional sports such as basketball, floor hockey, volleyball etc, see if there is a way to create some awareness in other activities that are more lifestyle friendly.
- Talk openly with your child about what the family health action plan is and get their opinion and ideas. Make it a positive experience to eat healthy and getting active. Make sure they know you love them no matter what, but this is an exciting healthy change for the whole family!
- If you know your child is very sedentary and tends to watch a lot of TV or spends way too much time playing video games, try to change this pattern by replacing this activity with something else. This may be a chance to spend time with your child and they may not end up missing their video games if they get attention from you.
These are just a few steps to get the ball rolling. It is so important to reach out and ask for help. Do not pretend that there is not a problem. People are willing to help.
As always, we hope that you will come and visit us at either Alive Health Centre, Morning Sun or Supplements Plus. Do not sit in silence; there are so many things you can to better your health! Get excited and take charge of your health. Let’s work together, along with your doctor to ensure you are doing all you can to lead a happy and healthy life. Our team looks forward to helping you with what ever your health concerns are.