Posts Tagged ‘games’

Overweight children — diet and exercise

July 9, 2010

Okay, so I may be seen as a writer, not a social worker or psychologist. But, having worked in industry, education and the community, plus having a family of my own, I think I know a thing or two. As should all teachers who have studied all the social sciences and put them into action in the classroom.

Overweight children — diet and exercise. We seem to get plenty of reports but little action.

Amazing how official research draws conclusions that are obvious to anyone of average intelligence.
So the conclusion concerning overweight children is that what they eat causes them to be obese rather than lack of exercise. And that lack of exercise exacerbates the condition. But reluctance to exercise is often the result of being grossly overweight. I think we can assume that obesity leads to lethargy, but more than that, refusal to join in games may indeed be because they are likely to be gawped at or name called.
I don’t blame overweight kids for wanting to withdraw to computer games where they can recover some self-esteem, or watch television where they can engage in comfort eating without teasing. Children can be very cruel, especially if they have problems of their own.
Supermarkets do not help. They sell fattening food at low prices with many offers of two for one. Parents may think they are saving money and keeping their kids happy. Children often spend money given them for lunches on sweet or fatty food, with sugared drinks to wash it down. But it is the home where control over eating is lacking. Young children do not need a pile of chocolate eggs at Easter, boxes of sweets at Christmas, cakes, sweets and chocolate for birthdays — and every day in between. Plus ice cream inside and outside the home. Take-away food is also to blame. So is eating in Supermarket cafes where chips are piled up, with fat-laden sausages, bacon, hash browns and fried eggs.
It is true that some children take after heavyweight relatives. I can see it within my family tree. A child with such tendencies may well get worse because of today’s electronic games and televisions. Years ago they would be out playing football in the park, riding bikes or generally socializing. But what is happening today involves too many children for the condition to be genetic.
When our children were young, they were not given Easter eggs by us (other adults gave them but we restricted their consumption), neither did they ever buy ice cream from the van that came round. (We had no fridge for ice cream either). We never had pestering for either. When they were young, they had a small amount of money each week to buy what they wanted. Usually it was chocolate, sweets or pop, but they certainly knew how to make the most of their coins. I usually cooked meals and baked cakes and pies. Fish and chips from the shop were a welcome treat. Occasionally, when out as a family, we had ice cream.
There were no electronic games or mobile phones. TV was limited.
Society must come to terms with unhealthy changes in diet and activities. Children have come to expect too much. Restraint is lacking. Parents need to show a good example. Love is more important in the home than over-indulgence.
For children, surely education is the key.
One suggestion is that lunchtime is reduced and children not allowed to leave the premises. Sandwiches and a drink of milk or low calorie fruit juice would be better than much of what is consumed. Then part of the afternoon be spent in games, apparatus, swimming or PE. Home at the usual time unless volunteers can be mustered for matches or practice.
Another suggestion, that supermarkets be approached to reduce the cost of fruit and not sell fattening cakes and buns at ridiculously low prices.

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