Childhood Obesity

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Therefore we have put this post together to inform you of the facts and figures around childhood obesity, as well as ways to reduce the prevalence of obesity in young people.

Nearly a third of children ages 2 to 15 in the UK are overweight or obese. Staying obese throughout your lifetime makes you more than twice as likely to die prematurely, compared to someone of a healthy weight. Children staying obese into adulthood are seven times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and also at greater risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and depression.

The best way to tackle obesity in children is by living a healthy lifestyle: by having a healthy food and drink intake; increasing physical activity; and improving sleep quality.

Encourage your child to eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and grains, and cut down on fatty, salty, sugary and processed foods.  Cut out sugary drinks – encourage your child to drink only water.

Children over the age of 5 should be completing a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day.  Think of ways to build this into your usual routine, such as: 

  • Walking or cycling to school
  • Encouraging your child to help active tasks such as the gardening or cleaning the car
  • Complete activities together as a family such as walking in the woods or visiting the park
  • And encourage your child to join a class or club with activities they enjoy such as swimming, athletics, football, or pilates!

Make sure your child is getting enough sleep: 6-13 year olds should be getting 9-11 hours sleep each night to help with growth, development, and mental health.  Being more physically active during the day, and limiting screen time in the evenings will help improve your child’s quality of sleep at night.

At Animated Physiotherapy we take a holistic view to improving health and wellness in both adults and children. If you have any further questions regarding this post, please email us at [email protected]

References: 

  1. Health and Social Care Information Centre (2015) Health Survey for England 2014
  2. A child’s BMI is based on ‘weight for height’ defined as weight in kilograms divided by the height in metres squared (kg/m2). To take into account growth patterns by age and gender, a children’s BMI is compared with BMI centiles on published growth charts. Children with a BMI above the 98th centile are considered clinically obese. For population monitoring those above the 95th centile are classed as obese. 
  3. Johnson W, Li L, Kuh D, Hardy R (2015) How Has the Age-Related Process of Overweight or Obesity Development Changed over Time? Coordinated Analyses of Individual Participant Data from Five United Kingdom Birth Cohorts. PLoS Med 12(5)
  4. T. Pischon, M.D et al. (2008) General and Abdominal Adiposity and Risk of Death in Europe. The New England Journal of Medicine. 359:2105-2120
  5. Gaynor, E (2019) Obesity in Children. https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/childrens-health/obesity-children
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