12 May, 2015

What can parents do to stop their children becoming obese?

The Guardian | Ann Robinson | 11 May 2015

Childhood obesity is a global public health challenge. The alarming rise noted in the 1990s may have levelled off in the past 10 years, but still one in 10 kids in England are obese by the time they start primary school. By the time they leave, one in five is obese and a third are overweight. The UK is rapidly catching up with the US, is level pegging with Australia and has the dubious distinction of having the fattest kids in Europe.

Abstract: Eat well, move lots | There is a strong case for government intervention to limit sales of sugary drinks, improve school meals and consider taxing unhealthy foods and subsidising healthy ones. But parents are responsible for what goes on in the home. The message from health experts is clear; no TV or screens before age two and control what children eat. Toddlers should be generally active at least three hours a day, as well as doing activities such as running, chasing a ball and using climbing frames. Kids over five should spend at least an hour a day cycling or running round, as well as doing some vigorous exercise such as running fast. On three days a week, they should do some muscle-strengthening exercise such as push-ups or gymnastics.