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How to help your overweight child

The percentage of overweight/obese children is growing at an alarming rate. With today's technology children are spending more time indoors on the internet or playing video games or watching tv and not exercising enough.

According to statistics 10% of 2-5 year old are overweight and 15% of children between 6-19years are overweight.

Being overweight is when your body has too much body fat. Body Fat is usually measured as a Body Mass Index (BMI). If you want to calculate your child's BMI then find out what their weight is in kilograms and divide it by their height in meters squared.

For Boys: If more than 25% of TOTAL body weight is fat then he is classed as obese.

For Girls: It is slightly higher at 32%. This is because girls have a different body shape, and bodily functions.

Children who are overweight are at risk of health problems that can affect their future health as well as the present.

These problems include:

-High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes, ( these can lead to adult illnesses such as heart disease and stroke).
-Bone & Joint Problems
-Sleeping Disorders
-Liver Disease
-Shortness of Breath
- Higher risk of developing Asthma

Children who are overweight are also more likely to be bullied and teased, which leads to low self esteem and depression.

What causes children to be overweight? There are a number of contributing factors:

Todays busy society makes it more difficult to prepare healthy meals on a regular basis, pushing us to buy more pre-packaged food and take out.

Portion size - we need to perhaps give smaller portions instead of overloading the plate!

Lack of exercise due to today's technology. Children who watch TV for more than 4 hours per day are more likely to be overweight than a child who watches 2 hours per day.

Genes also play a part in our weight. Genes help to determine body type and how the body burns and stores fat. Our parents habits are culprits also. Both genes and habits can be passed through the generations causing maybe multiple family members to be overweight.

Comforting eating is also linked to being overweight. Children may tend to eat more during stressful times such as exams or relationship breakups.

As a parent it is our responsibility to ensure our children are eating a proper balanced healthy diet along with plenty of exercise.

I have been up and down with my weight through life and as a young person had low self esteem due to being overweight and lacking in exercise. As a mum i don't want to see my child or any child go through what I did. Good education is the key and i am excited to say i have found it and want to share it.

-Emma_Barnes

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