Call to ac­tion for our fat kids

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS -

ONE in four Gold Coast kids are over­weight or obese – a fig­ure that could in­crease by 2025 if kids don’t get more ac­tive.

Re­search from the Aus­tralian Sports Foun­da­tion, to be pre­sented at the Prime Min­is­ter’s Oration by for­mer PM Julia Gil­lard on Novem­ber 21, shows phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity is the fourth-lead­ing cause of chronic health prob­lems in Aus­tralia.

It comes amid find­ings that 66 per cent of Aus­tralian adults are over­weight or obese.

The most re­cent Health of Queens­lan­ders re­port, from 2015-16, re­veals 23 per cent of Gold Coast kids are strug­gling with their weight.

The statis­tic equates to 4500 obese lo­cal chil­dren and 16,000 classed as over­weight.

Gold Coast Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Dr Sonu Haik­er­wal, who is also co-owner of the Haan Health Med­i­cal Cen­tre, con­firmed child obe­sity was a big prob­lem in the city.

“This is some­thing we see a lot through our clin­ics and our doc­tors talk about nu­tri­tion and diet with all pa­tients,” Dr Haik­er­wal said.

“It’s an is­sue we have to start work­ing on from the be­gin­ning. When a woman is preg­nant it’s im­por­tant to mon­i­tor weight gain and ges­ta­tional di­a­betes.

“From when a child is born it is im­por­tant for their growth, weight and height, to be mon­i­tored. There are many other health is­sues that can fol­low from be­ing over­weight or obese and that is the se­ri­ous con­cern for doc­tors.

“Where there is a prob­lem, there isn’t an easy so­lu­tion. It is a life­style change for the whole fam­ily that is re­quired.

“Many strug­gle to af­ford good food. Bad food is cheaper, so it’s not al­ways easy.”

Dr Haik­er­wal said if Coast par­ents con­cerned about their child’s weight they should visit a general prac­ti­tioner.

“Par­tic­u­larly one that is a spe­cial­ist in the field of nu­tri­tion or pe­di­atrics,” she said.

A group of sport­ing am­bas­sadors will to­day urge Aus­tralians to get mov­ing after it emerged that 81 per cent of chil­dren aged 5-17 do not meet rec­om­mended phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion guidelines.

Essendon AFL cap­tain Dyson Hep­pell, Aus­tralia’s most capped fe­male crick­eter Alex Black­well, soc­cer star Kyah Si­mon and par­a­lympian Danni Di Toro will lead a push to im­prove par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The elite quar­tet have teamed up with the in­au­gu­ral Prime Min­is­ter’s Sport­ing Oration, to be staged in Mel­bourne, to en­cour­age busi­ness lead­ers to fund grass­roots pro­grams. For­mer Aussie cricket cap­tain Black­well said the stas­tics were un­ac­cept­able and change was ur­gently needed.

“This will be the first gen­er­a­tion that will be slower than their par­ents and have a lower life ex­pectancy,” she said.

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