I would love to share to article from the Jamaica Observer below as it continues to be a problem in Jamaica:
IS your little kid a bit chunky? Childhood obesity continues to be a serious issue in Jamaica, with Government statistics showing more than 11 per cent of children 10 to 15 years old, and 35 per cent of teenagers between 15 to 18 years, being classified as overweight or obese.
While the Government is moving to address this issue and other lifestyle challenges through the recently established National Non-Communicable Diseases Committee, nutritionists say there is a lot parents can do from early so their children don’t become statistics.
Director of the Health Promotion and Protection Unit in the Ministry of Health Dr Kevin Harvey said an estimated 22 million children under five are deemed to be overweight worldwide. He said childhood obesity places future generations at high risk of obesity, as obese adolescents eventually become obese adults.
“Obese youths are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure,” he told Government news agency JIS recently.
“Obese youths are also more likely than those of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type-two diabetes, strokes, and several types of cancers.”
Nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant says one of the main way of controlling your child’s weight is by controlling their food intake.
He said while it is hard to control what they eat at school, parents should watch their intake at home.
“The overall idea of a successful weight loss programme is to reduce their food/calorie intake, so their bodies will use up some of the reserves,” Grant said.
He said if the child is already overweight, the parent should start by making gradual changes to the child’s eating plan.
“For example, you could reduce his/her snacks and sodas by a half. Also, instead of juices and sodas, you could give them coconut water. In addition, let them snack on fruits instead of biscuits.”
Grant said it is important that you do not take away all the things a child is accustomed to at once, but instead, do so in stages.
“You can’t be a killjoy and take away everything,” the nutritionist said. “But you have to reduce it so that the child can use up some of his/her reserves or else he/she won’t be able to lose the weight.”
Researchers have also found that children who are overweight will shed the pounds easier if their parents get in shape with them.
“The number one way in which parents can help an obese child lose weight? Lose weight themselves,” a study, which looked at parenting skills and styles, changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child’s weight, published in the journal Obesity last March, stated.
The study, by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota, looked at 80 parent-child groups with an eight to 12-year-old overweight or obese child. The researchers found that it was only when the parents slimmed down that the children consistently did likewise.