HEALTHY ROLE MOD­ELS

PAR­ENTS NEED TO SET AN EX­AM­PLE TO CHIL­DREN IN MAN­AG­ING OBE­SITY

Life & Style Weekend - - YOU - WORDS: HAMISH MCMICHAEL

I’ve of­ten over­heard, and of course par­tic­i­pated in con­ver­sa­tions about how kids to­day are dif­fer­ent. Well, of course they are! They’ve grown in up in a dif­fer­ent world than we grew up in. While some could ar­gue that we’ve gifted the new gen­er­a­tion ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy, medicine and science, we have also left them some gifts that aren’t quite so help­ful. Our kids are get­ting fat­ter, and aren’t mov­ing enough. Their health is suf­fer­ing now, and will get worse as they age. We can point our fin­ger at the lack of phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion at school sys­tem, fast food mar­ket­ing aimed at kids, and so­cial me­dia ad­dic­tions. While these are cer­tainly fac­tors in this com­plex prob­lem, let’s re­mem­ber who are our chil­dren’s big­gest role mod­els – their par­ents. When we point one fin­ger, the other four point back at us. We can la­bel our kids as obese, but let’s take a look at their role mod­els. More than half of the adult pop­u­la­tion has a body weight that poses se­ri­ous health risks. More than 60 per cent of Aus­tralian adults are obese and al­most 10 per cent are se­verely obese. In fact, our chil­dren are do­ing bet­ter than their adult role mod­els. While the sta­tis­tics still aren’t flat­ter­ing, around 25 per cent of Aus­tralian chil­dren and ado­les­cents are obese or over­weight. Un­for­tu­nately, we’re one of the world lead­ers in obe­sity lev­els – we’re the fifth fat­test coun­try in the world trail­ing Amer­ica, Mex­ico, Hun­gary and New Zealand. Now don’t be fooled by the fluffy idea of “puppy fat” that mag­i­cally burns off to re­veal healthy glow­ing toned adults be­neath. Obe­sity in chil­dren and ado­les­cents is linked to an in­creased risk of long-term health prob­lems and may also di­min­ish the qual­ity of life in the short-term. Man­ag­ing obe­sity is cer­tainly com­plex. There are strong cul­tural and so­cial is­sues at play. Lack of play and move­ment is one of those is­sues. Around one quar­ter of chil­dren do not meet the rec­om­mended na­tional phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity guide­lines. Among young adults, age 18 to 24, this prob­lem gets worse with 52 per cent of young adults not meet­ing the rec­om­mended phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity guide­lines. Our di­ets aren’t help­ing the prob­lem ei­ther. A mea­gre 7 per cent of adults met the Aus­tralian Di­etary Guide­lines for the rec­om­mended serves of for serves of veg­eta­bles. That’s a whop­ping 93 per cent of Aussies who aren’t get­ting enough ve­g­ies ev­ery day. If the adults aren’t eat­ing them – I’d bet their kids aren’t ei­ther. Cheap, con­ve­nient, nu­tri­ent-de­void food has taken the cen­tre stage of many fam­ily din­ner ta­bles. Aussies make a stag­ger­ing 51.5 mil­lion vis­its to fast food out­lets ev­ery month. I would be sur­prised if there was this many an­nual vis­its to the Aus­tralian fruit and veg­etable shops. If we’re re­ally in­ter­ested in get­ting our kids healthy, this change must start from us as par­ents and role mod­els. Do what I say, not what I do doesn’t cut it – never has, never will. Do you want your chil­dren to grow up with your level of health? If you’re in­ter­ested in get­ting you and your fam­ily healthy please call Hamish at the Kaizen Cen­tre 07 5479 3411.

Visit Hamish at Kaizen Ex­er­cise Phys­i­ol­o­gists 2/47 Sixth Ave, Ma­roochy­dore, and get your well­ness on track. www.kaizenep.com.au

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