Childhood Obesity – Our Responsibility

Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight and the country ranks 58th out of 200 countries for its proportion of overweight youths, new data shows.

Latest statistics show a 10-fold increase in the rate of obesity among Irish boys between 1975 and 2016, and a 9-fold increase among Irish girls!

Just 1 per cent of children in Ireland were classed as obese in 1975, but this has risen to 9 per cent among girls and 10 per cent among boys.

Irish boys rank 98th in the obesity charts and girls are 78th out of the 200, but there is more consistency in the country’s proportion of overweight children with both boys and girls coming in 58th place globally. This is a staggering rise in obesity levels within children over the years. And I place all blame on 2 things.

  1. Parents
  2. Ease of access and availability of sugar loaded foods/drinks

The publication of the research i mentioned above coincided with the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks announced in the Budget at the end of last year, the first such tax to be imposed in Ireland.

Drinks with a sugar content of 8g per 100ml will be taxed at a rate of 30 cent per litre under the new measures, which are aimed at combating obesity rates in the State.

Representatives from the food and beverages industry have said it will do little to address the obesity epidemic and i am inclined to agree.

obesity-cycle

We as parents need to set the standards for our children

I may sound crude here but to me all children are born the same, some may be more or less developed in terms of weight but that’s where the line is drawn. It is solely up to us as parents to make sure we nourish and feed our children in the right manner. Maybe we need more education in terms of nutrition and calories etc but under no circumstances should a child become obese! 

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure used to determine childhood overweight and obesity. Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex

Behaviors that influence excess weight gain include eating high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages, not getting enough physical activity, sedentary activities such as watching television or other screen devices, medication use, and sleep routines.

In contrast, consuming a healthy diet and being physically active can help children grow as well as maintain a healthy weight throughout childhood. Balancing energy or calories consumed from foods and beverages with the calories burned through activity plays a role in preventing excess weight gain. In addition, eating healthy and being physically active also has other health benefits and helps to prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Global obesity

Overall, rates of obesity among children and teenagers have soared 10-fold around the world in the past four decades according to the global study.

Between 1975 and 2016 the estimated number of obese boys in the world increased from six million to 74 million. Girls showed a similar trend, with their obesity figure rising from five million to 50 million over the same period.

What can we do as parents?

We have sole responsibility in what we give to and teach our children in terms of nutrition and we are their role models. We need to show them that eating healthy and being active is a normal lifestyle. Its a case of ‘Monkey see, monkey do’. Children develop habits and traits from what they see in front of them. If we eat unhealthy then the likelihood of our children doing the same is very high. If we don’t engage in physical activity then its unlikely our children will either. Now this is only my opinion but one that I fully believe. We should set the standards!! Who wouldn’t want to be able to play football with their children or run around the house or go on adventures with them? Being healthier and more educated on nutrition can start at any stage but don’t leave it too late or our children (and ourselves) may suffer.

If you want to chat more about changing your dietary habits or getting fit then don’t hesitate to give us a call here at sásta Carrick. We will be more than happy to help in whatever way we can and don’t forget about your FREE trial session if you want to see how it all works. Call us on 087 2026382 to find out more info or to book a session.

Thanks for reading,

Dermot.

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