How Can You Tackle Obesity in Children?

The crisis of childhood obesity has quadrupled over the past 25 years and, in the UK, they’ve trebled since the 80s. Two-thirds of children in the UK will be over the healthy weight range by 2050, according to a report carried out in 2007. But with the right support it is possible to combat the problem early so that children can grow up to be as healthy and fit as possible. Many people are now classified as overweight or obese, but this brings with it far more problems than simply affecting the aesthetics of a person – it can lead to heart problems, certain cancers and stroke, as well as breathing problems and joint difficulties due to the excess strain on the lungs and bones. It also affects our mental health, affecting confidence, self-esteem and can even lead to depression. While genetics play a part, anyone can become overweight – it’s all down to how much your eat, what you’re eating, and how much exercise you do. We’re far more sedentary than we once were, in addition to eating an increasingly unhealthy diet, and this all contributes to those extra pounds which soon mount up to become a serious health risk. When children come under fire, this can be a serious problem – they’ll grow up already prone to diseases and health concerns, which will be harder to combat in adult life.


One of the first signs of a child becoming obese is when they can no longer fit into children’s clothes, and have to start wearing clothes designed for adults. However, with more manufacturers making clothes to accommodate the increasing number of children who are overweight, this can mask the issue. The best way to check if your child is in the danger zone is to check their BMI – this will give an accurate view of the extent of the issue. Once your child is slightly older, you may want to start keeping a check on their weight and height so that this figure can be monitored and dealt with if it begins to rise too high. It’s important to catch the condition early, as studies show that between 40 and 70 percent of obese children will grow up to be obese in adulthood. If your timing is right, you’ll be able to solve the problem early and your child will be able to enjoy a healthy childhood at a normal weight. Start from birth and get your baby weighed regularly by a doctor or nurse (around six times in their first year) and check their growth speed. Don’t move on to solid foods too early as otherwise they will become accustomed to the taste of this food too early on. It’s advised that you don’t wean until six months, or change on to pureed food at around four months. It also helps to talk to your kids when they’re a little older to help them become educated about foods. Communication with kids is key, so if you can get them to open up about why they feel the need to overeat, this can be half of the battle already won.


Portion sizes are a problem for many people, and can lead to overeating without you even realising it. Try to cut your portions down a little and you’ll notice that you’ll lose weight and stay full too. A good guide is to use their hand as a guide for portions – the size of their fist should be the maximum you give of each food item. Making sure that your child stays active is also helpful, as their diet will only account for part of the problem. It can be anything from a kick-about in the park on a Saturday morning, walking to school instead of driving, or getting them to take part in an evening class such as dance or basketball where they can socialise with friends and keep fit too.

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