Obesity Hits Australian Kids Hard

From 1-in-20 during the '80s, obesity and weight problems in teens have gone up to 1-in-4. Along with the rise in obesity comes a host of issues, including early-onset diabetes, heart problems, depression, low self-esteem, and societal discrimination.

Heavy Tots Become Overweight Teens

Weight problems start early, and being overweight at 6-7 years old usually meant a three-fold increase in the chances of staying overweight at 15 years old. Younger kids have fast metabolisms, allowing them to burn calories easier than adults. They lose weight easily once given a proper diet that takes account of their nutritional needs. Parents will often ignore a child's weight problems, believing it would be better for the child's growth to have more (instead of less) food because they are at a growing stage.

Junk food, sugary drinks, and fast food also contribute to the sharp rise of childhood obesity. Children are often rewarded with junk food and sugary drinks, increasing their cravings to these unhealthy food choices until adulthood. Try to prepare nutritious meals for your kids and make sure the portions are just right. Your children might be growing, but gaining too much weight puts their health at risk and could even lead to bullying at school.

Play Is Good, but not on a Screen

A sedentary lifestyle was almost unthinkable just a few decades ago. Kids would run out to play with friends, and parents would have trouble calling them back home. Today, getting your kids to play outside is almost impossible. Popular video games, streaming services, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have relegated play into the screen and away from the playgrounds. However, studies have shown that children are happier and more fulfilled with physical play.

Introduce your kids to parks with large play structures or get them into play dates with their friends for a day outside. If your community doesn't have a place for children to play, appeal to your local council. Playgrounds usually require the cooperation of the city with the local council, especially on what features the playground should have. Playing outside allows children to exercise and socialize with kids their own age. The endorphins produced by the body during physical activity will also reinforce their desire to play as well as make them a bit happier.

Do as You Preach

One crucial factor that determines if a child will grow up obese is the weight of his/her parents. If the child's parents are overweight, chances are, the child will be, too. Lose weight together with your children. It would be unfair to force your children to eat healthy if they see you eating unhealthy food. Children will mimic their parents. If they so you eating healthy and exercising, they'll probably do the same. Support your children's weight loss journey by leading it, and make your whole family a little bit healthier.

Australia's childhood obesity problem is alarming and dangerous, but the solutions are simple. Prepare proper meals for your kids and encourage real play. A healthy childhood gives your children a bigger chance of having a healthy future.


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