Did You Know? Over I,000,000 of our Children are obese! By 2050 90% of our children will be overweight! So if we want our children to live longer we need to: Change 4 Life It has been proved that: Just 11.5% of parents recognise their children are overweight. Only 38% of adults know that obesity leads to heart disease and only 6% know about the link to cancer. Many families use snacks as rewards, as fillers during times of boredom and to appease conflict. Parents of older children are more worried about not feeding them enough and the risk of eating disorders such as anorexia. Parents underestimate just how much unhealthy food they buy! Lack of knowledge is the main barrier which stops people cooking from scratch. Change 4 Life is a lifestyle change that involves organisations, schools and charities, aimed to help families eat well, move more and live longer. Modern life means that 9 out of 10 kids could grow up with dangerous amounts of fat in their bodies. Very few children are overweight because of an underlying medical problem. Obesity is caused by 2 simple factors: 1. An unhealthy diet of too much sugar and fat. 2. Not doing enough exercise to burn off the calories consumed. Being overweight as a child can cause psychological distress. Teasing about their appearance affects a child’s confidence and self-esteem. This can lead to isolation and depression. It is easy for children to become overweight. High-calorie foods are relatively cheap, and heavily promoted for children. Exercise is no longer part of everyone’s day – some children never walk or cycle to school, or play any form of sport. Many children spend hours in front of computer / television screens. In most cases experts recommend that overweight children should not be encouraged to loose weight. Instead, try to maintain their weight so that they “grow into it” as they get taller. So what can we do? Changes to Eating Habits Eat a healthy well-balanced diet – Provide snacks & Meals at regular times. Don’t allow your children to eat while watching TV or doing homework. Avoid fizzy drinks that are high in sugar. Don’t keep lots of crisps, sweets, snack food in the house. Don’t make outings for fast foods as part of the weekly routine. Make mealtimes an occasion, by eating as a family as often as possible. Teach children to chew food more slowly and savour the food. Teach them flavours. Revamp the packed lunches – use fruit and wholemeal bread. Cut out the crisps. Physical Activity Encourage walking to places such as school and the shops, rather than jumping in the car. Suggest going to the park for a kick around with a football, or a game of cricket etc. Visit a local leisure centre in investigate sports and team activities. Involve the whole family – bike rides, swimming. Make exercise the treat such as a trip to the skating rink. Reduce physical inactivity by limiting inactive pastimes. No more than 2hrs a day with a maximum of 14 hours a week. is the recommended amount. Increase physical activity – at least 60 minutes a day. Emotional Factors Don’t use food to comfort your child – give attention, hugs and listen. Avoid using food as a reward. For example instead of a having a fast-food meal to celebrate a good school report, buy a small gift, go to the cinema or have a friend stay overnight. If you are worried about your child or feel they may be overweight, please talk to your GP. Ask for help from a dietician. Make long-term changes to healthy eating for all the family, and get your child involved in sport. Research shows that children are more likely to be obese if their parents are. By following the above points you will be helping the whole family.