Will your fat kid to grow into a sick adult?

Today we discuss the alarming rise of fat kids. Overweight or obese kids are now increasingly prevalent around the world. The new term being flung around today is that “Obesity is the new smoking” – it’s a deadly killer and more attention should be given to it to help reduce future illness and premature death. 1 in 4 kids.  In Australia, UK, America, Canada and parts of Asia, so many kids are overweight or obese and these stats are rising at an alarming rate. Have a listen and like us, subscribe and leave a comment! It’s time to address this outbreak amongst our kids.

Obesity is the new smoking

This is because overweight kids tend to become obese adults and this significantly raises the risk of a range of degenerative diseases.  So in Australia, we are rushing headlong to become an obese nation with an inevitable tsunami avoidable degenerative diseases including diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, joint issues …

Reasons for fat kids or childhood obesity

  • Genes – “like father, like son” or “like mother, like daughter”
  • Junk-food addiction – high-fat, sweetened junk/fast foods are hard to resist
  • Overeating
  • Insulin resistance – amplified by a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugar and adequate dietary fibre
  • Inadequate exercise

Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar and carbs do

The low-fat food craze was popularised by one study by Ancel Keys in the 1950s which suggested that saturated fats caused of heart disease.  Keys proposed reducing saturated fat as a way to “prevent” heart disease.

Low-fat food tastes awful so manufacturers add sugar. It is sugar that makes you fat and packaged or takeaway sweet carbohydrate loaded food is much cheaper than home-cooked meals. So many parents are juggling impossible workloads just to keep afloat and struggle to cook at home.

Does your child walk to school, do they move enough?

When I was a kid, it seemed like almost everyone walked or biked to school. Now with expanding school bags, perceptions of stranger danger and the impact of busy metro lives, it is quicker and easier to drive than walk. These days, so many kids are driven to school in the ubiquitous SUV.

The sad reality is that an increasing proportion of kids are sitting too long, watching their screens too much and moving much less than is required to maintain a healthy body weight.

Screentime breeds fat kids and obese adults

I am so glad I enjoyed a childhood without a Smartphone. We enjoyed playing outside in the fresh air and sunshine and when the weather was bad we played together as a connected family. These days children seem increasingly glued to their screens – Smartphones, iPads or computers. If it is not a game or the seductive social media then it is homework. Secrets are fine in moderation, but increasingly children are addicted to them spending as much as ten hours a day. This can cause poor posture, neck and back strain. The accompanying lack of movement provides a recipe for childhood obesity and later chronic illness. It’s scary and it is happening all around us.

Many parents are in denial

A recent study suggests that 80% of British parents think their children are normal weight, when they were actually obese.[1]

Fat kids and childhood obesity undermines health and wellbeing

If your child is overweight or obese, this raises the risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Joint pain
  • Sleep apnea
  • Bullying and social problems

Waistlines continue to expand

The AIHW 2018 Australian report card shows that Australians are getting fatter and fatter [2]

  • 63% of Australian adults are now overweight or obese
  • Over the past two decades, the proportion of Australians who have a healthy body weight fell,
  • The proportion who are obese increased and the  ‘severely obese’ nearly doubled.

Adult obesity raises the risk of many cancers

My top tips to avoid childhood obesity

  • Ensure diet is rich in whole foods, fruit and vegetables. Rainbow meals with all the colours.
  • Minimise added sugar and processed carbs. Eliminate soft drinks
  • Regularly drink clean filtered water
  • Smaller meal portions on smaller plates
  • Eat family meals together at a table with the TV off
  • Regular physical exercise
  • Manage screentime – no screens in bedrooms
  • Send them to school with a healthy packed lunch
  • Set a good example as a parent

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To find out more about what Sally Estlin does, head here

Photo by Diego Passadori on Unsplash

[1]: British Jour of General Practice: Child obesity cut-offs as derived from parental perceptions: cross-sectional questionnaire

[2]: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s health 2018