Di­eti­cian at GOSH of­fers tips on World Anti-Obe­sity day

Move to help fam­i­lies com­bat child­hood obe­sity

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

LON­DON: Niamh Landy, a di­eti­cian at Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal, knows that par­ent power works. “We know that ed­u­cat­ing par­ents on healthy eat­ing could be the key to com­bat­ing child­hood obe­sity. Making sure chil­dren have a healthy diet is im­por­tant be­cause it can re­duce rates of obe­sity, hy­per­ten­sion and diabetes as well as de­crease the risk of coro­nary artery dis­ease,” she said. To help par­ents look af­ter their chil­dren’s health, Niamh has put to­gether a se­ries of top tips for fam­i­lies to adopt to­day.

When eat­ing with the fam­ily, Niamh sug­gests that fam­i­lies should avoid rush­ing meal­times, turn off the tele­vi­sion and sit at a ta­ble for a meal. “When you slow down, it al­lows the brain to ‘re­alise’ that the stom­ach is full so that you know you’ve had enough and don’t overeat. Giv­ing your child small por­tions is also im­por­tant. Re­mem­ber to check if your child is ac­tu­ally full be­fore offering them more food,” she ex­plained.

When out and about, it is al­ways a good idea to bring snacks from home. This will avoid the need to buy high calo­rie con­ve­nience food such as chocolate and crisps or fizzy drinks when out on a trip or shop­ping. “Snacks such as fruit, veg­eta­bles, crack­ers, nuts, plain bis­cuits and un­salted pop­corn are good choices,” Niamh sug­gests. Choos­ing health­ier op­tions to eat and drink ev­ery day is also im­por­tant. Rather than offering a fizzy drink give di­luted fruit juice, weak squash, milk or wa­ter. Al­ways make sure your child has a drink avail­able to them to make sure they do not get de­hy­drated.

En­sur­ing they have a drink be­fore they leave for school and in their school bag is also a good idea. If go­ing for a take­away, Niamh sug­gests choos­ing a lighter op­tion such as fish coated in bread­crumbs, thin base piz­zas with veg­etable or lean meat top­pings and grilled burg­ers made from lean meat with salad. “Of course, eat­ing five fruit or veg­etable por­tions a day is also es­sen­tial to be­ing healthy. Th­ese can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. Re­mem­ber though that juices and smooth­ies only count as one of your 5-aday.”

Par­ents should en­cour­age their chil­dren to ex­er­cise. “Making time for the fam­ily to get in­volved in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties is im­por­tant,” Niamh said. “Be­ing a good role model is es­sen­tial to en­cour­ag­ing good habits in your child.’ Niamh sug­gests ac­tiv­i­ties such as cy­cling, walk­ing, play­ing tag, jump­ing rope, as well as swim­ming and danc­ing as good ac­tiv­i­ties to en­cour­age your child to par­tic­i­pate in. Join­ing in with other fam­i­lies in soc­cer or soft­ball games is also a fun way of en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate.’ Re­duc­ing the time chil­dren spend in front of a screen, such as a com­puter, tele­vi­sion or video game con­soles, is also a good idea,” she added.

Landy is a spe­cial­ist pae­di­atric di­eti­cian for the Ke­to­genic Diet Ther­apy team at Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal. Her un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree was a BSc (Hons) Hu­man Nu­tri­tion at the Univer­sity of Ul­ster and she went on to qual­ify as a di­eti­cian in 2006 with a PgD in Di­etet­ics from King’s Col­lege Lon­don. Af­ter start­ing as a clin­i­cal di­eti­cian for adults Niamh soon turned to pae­di­atric di­etet­ics. Niamh worked for five years in New Zealand and re­turned to the UK to take up a spe­cial­ist pae­di­atric di­eti­cian post at Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren in Jan­uary 2013. The di­etetic depart­ment has a ro­ta­tion sys­tem and Niamh has worked in many ar­eas in­clud­ing gas­troen­terol­ogy, haema­tol­ogy and on­col­ogy, en­docrinol­ogy, im­munol­ogy and meta­bolic medicine.

Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don is recog­nised as one of the few truly world-class hos­pi­tals for chil­dren. As a global leader, GOSH has top clin­i­cal and re­search ex­perts work­ing ev­ery day to find new and bet­ter ways to treat chil­dren. While break­throughs and med­i­cal ex­per­tise are es­sen­tial to the treat­ment of pa­tients, GOSH also places great em­pha­sis on the sup­port and care pro­vided for chil­dren by nur­tur­ing an open and sup­port­ive at­mos­phere, en­sur­ing that par­ents and pa­tients are well in­formed and closely in­volved in the treat­ment process. Chil­dren re­ceive the high­est stan­dards of care and at­ten­tion from the ex­pert team of med­i­cal and sup­port staff dur­ing their stay at GOSH, and are al­ways treated with re­spect, trust, con­cern and open­ness.

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