Radio Article

One of the topics on the radio this lunchtime was childhood obesity, and were parents ignoring the issue by burying their heads in the sand.

It was mentioned that a five year old weighed over thirty kilos. That’s 66lbs, just four pounds off five stones.
In trying to get things into perspective, Maggie weighs 15 kilos, 33lbs, a pound or so more that the amount of weight I’ve lost in just over four months.

How much is a healthy child supposed to weigh, and are parents right to put their children on diets at an early age?
Even those buying a variety of healthy foods for their households may be overlooking what their offspring are spending their pocket money on!

rdaLooking at the above chart, children 5 – 10 years of age should consume 1800 kcals a day.
Bear in mind that those of us familiar with dieting in the past may have tried to slim on 1000 calories a day. We remember how tough that was, so can we really expect a child to handle almost half their recommended daily intake?

I’m no expert on food, nutrition, diets, or kids, but one thing I didn’t hear mentioned on today’s programme was exercise.
Young kids do not seem to be encouraged in sport or other physical activity at school, or to play games in the playground, because they might injure themselves.
Woe the inconvenience to teaching staff at having to deal with a scratched knee in today’s Nanny State when everyone is afraid to do anything for fear of repercussions should there be an allergic reaction to a plaster!

Older kids are too busy playing on whatever the latest screen craze is now, or texting on their smartphones to the person standing next to them.

I still believe that if nutrition was to be taught in schools, that helping to understand food groups, the pitfalls of too much sugar, fat, salt, the health benefits of tomatoes, cucumber, herbs and spices, would be a start.
The sugar tax isn’t going to do much to deter parents buying fizzy drinks or confectionery.
We all like a little bit of the naughty stuff in the food line occasionally, and to deny youngsters of it altogether could result in more damage by secretive eating, subsequent guilt, and a serious increase in eating disorders.

child-weight-chartImages in this post are from the internet, and this was one of only a few I found straightforward to follow as regards children’s weight.

Do kids go food shopping with their parents? Doubtful in today’s busy schedules and work commitments I expect.
As I was working part-time though, I used to take the boys in my care with me after collecting them from school on a Monday, each having the responsibility of collecting something for the basket, from dog food to the day’s dinner.
Over the years, I bought pies, pasties, crisps, chocolate, cakes and fizzy drinks by the ton, and confess didn’t think anything of it. Mind you, the boys walked to school, played football afterwards, didn’t have a computer or mobile phone, and TV time was limited.
But then that was thirty odd years ago.

We need a positive food campaign that does not preach or penalize in our pockets what we should not have, but encourage more of what we should at realistic prices.
The Five a Day was a good idea, but even that is now open to debate.
What ratio of fruit to veg, should it be 5 or 7 portions a day, what colour should it be, the warnings of cartoned fruit juice with its hidden sugars, the misguidance of ‘fat free’ produce that is high in additives of another sort.

diet battle diet balance
Professional Diets are contradictory depending on who wrote them, so it’s no wonder we are all confused as to what are good things to eat and what should be had in moderation.

As adults, we have a choice as to what we put inside our shopping carts and inside our bellies.
As parents, those choices are foisted onto our kids, and if we adults are uneducated in food, what hope is there for subsequent generations?
Obesity is a problem, one that isn’t going to go away. We can treat the symptoms, but really need to address the cause.

Just a thought.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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10 Responses to Radio Article

  1. There weren’t obese kids when I was young. We have one overweight boy in grade school. That was it. Everyone else was skinny. We were active. I never thought about what I ate and I’m not sure my mother focused on it. We had some sweets in the house but never a lot. Sodas were treats rather than part of a regular diet. Different times.

    • It is and was. Each class always had ‘a fat kid’, and obese was never used to describe them. We had meat and two veg most days, lazy Saturdays and a full roast on Sundays. Treats and sweets were allowed, and we walked everywhere. Mum would buy squash rather than lemonade, and having a coke was a REAL treat! (no diet option in those days either!!)

      • Describes my childhood too. And coke can in those 7 ounce glass bottles instead of 12 ounce cans.

      • Oh, those sexy bottles, hour glass shapes with the trim waist!

      • Sounds so familiar.
        Without air conditioning and TV being rare/new/with few choices of shows, kids were all outside all the time.
        Eating out was very rare, too – not so now. We didn’t have fast food – well maybe a hamburger on vacations, but even then we had our own picnic basket for trips and rarely cokes or sodas. We rarely got any kind of sweets – not healthy or expensive. Mom didn’t like to cook – and we had food allergies in the family, so we only had basic plain food.
        Food was considered fuel ( and interrupted play times – ugh!)
        Kids do learn from adults. So many adults consider going out to eat a hobby and favorite entertainment now.
        City living has replaced farm communities for most. No chores to keep all away from the snacks. Some urban areas are not safe for kids to play outside after school.
        Schools here do teach food groups and healthy living to the point of kids ignoring it all. If the schools are so worried about obesity, Why do secondary schools no longer mandate PE every day, every year? Elementary schools hold students with low test scores out of PE for extra tutoring until after the state tests are over. It’s stupid to say “we can’t spare the time for kids to play (K-12) when test scores say they need to learn more. Research shows outdoor breaks and physical activity improves attention span and kids learn better after running around a bit – adults perform better also.
        Sorry for the long response, but obesity is such a serious problem – and worse if it starts in childhood.

      • I am with you all the way. Obesity is a serious problem, which is starting in younger and younger children, but the question is who to educate? Sadly kids no longer seem to have the ‘right’ to be kids and enjoy their short childhood. They are already ‘labelled’ with disorders of one kind or another simply because the medical profession don’t know or parents think it’s a ‘phase’ they’ll grow out of. So they approach teenage years with issues not necessarily of their making, but having to deal with it, and the stigma attached.

  2. colinandray says:

    I think you are right. Obesity is caused by a lethargic lifestyle (thank you technology); an unethical and unscrupulous profit driven food industry which claims to provide “healthy”, “all natural”, “low sodium”, “low sugar” etc.etc, but it is all relative and generally misleading; an education system that appears to see minimal value in physical activity; professional couples who perceive a value in “quick” meals; complicated labeling such that a reasonable education is necessary in order to interpret the information, and as for pricing less desirable products higher?? A highly questionable strategy based on the experience here where cigarettes are highly taxed as a deterrent…… but teens are still smoking, and the black market/illegal ciggy business is thriving.

  3. Couldn’t agree more! Am so glad my childhood was spent playing outdoor games instead of being glued to the screen most of the time …. Things seem so different now ….

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