HEALTHY ROLE MODELS
PARENTS NEED TO SET AN EXAMPLE TO CHILDREN IN MANAGING OBESITY
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