Being overweight, or even obese, does not only affect adults: the youngest are also increasingly affected, increasing the risk of early health complications, especially cardiovascular. It is, therefore, important to identify the possible causes of children becoming overweight before encouraging them to undertake a new physical activity.
What are the causes of being overweight?
The reasons for being overweight can be many and varied, but some are particularly common.
The choice of food these days is extremely vast, with many ultra-processed foods sitting on supermarket’s shelves. Unfortunately, these foods do not cover children’s nutritional needs as they are too salty, too rich in saturated fats and more often than not, too sweet. Besides, vegetables are regularly shunned and replaced by starchy foods. To compound this, children lead a far more sedentary lifestyle than in previous times, spending hours upon hours on screens. This not only represents long periods without physical activity, but it is also often accompanied with a whole range of unhealthy snacks.
Another prime moment for snacking occurs after school when kids come home “starving” and woof down cakes, crisps and sugary drinks.
Finally, stress and poor sleep tend to also promote weight gain.
What are the social complications from being overweight?
Children with excess body fat often experience difficulties in everyday life both in and outside of school. Mockery, rejection or criticism not only makes it difficult to educate these children, they often end up isolated, turning to food as a source of comfort. It is, therefore, advisable to learn about establishments that can help overweight children to overcome eating disorders and to see them through their education. These centres offer a complete program, providing nutritional education and regular physical activity to ensure children are at the correct weight during their growth.
Before ever reaching this stage, you should consult a registered dietitian-nutritionist who can offer the whole family nutritional advice. These specialists will help children grasp the basics which will be useful throughout their life. To get a taste of this, take a look at our Family program. In this program, your dietitian nutritionist coach will follow you at a frequency of your own choice, sending you easy and healthy recipes for the whole week..
What role does physical activity have in children?
As is commonly known, regular sporting activities help children to grow up healthily, allowing them to develop and strengthen their body while giving them the opportunity to socialise and gain confidence. But it also encourages them to understand their limits, therefore sensitising them to the importance of food as a complementary to physical activity. Parents can help their children by buying healthier snacks; all it takes is a little time to compare the nutritional values of the products in the stores. Unfortunately, one without the other will make little effect on the child’s weight.
So which sports should they practice?
Children can actually practice whatever they like, combat, artistic, group sports … the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends 1 hour of physical activity per day for children from 5 to 17 years old. As the time dedicated to sport at school is not enough, it will be good to offer different physical activities in order to help them find the one that will be suitable for the whole school year!
In conclusion, it doesn’t matter what your child’s activity is as long as he remains active and enjoys it! The benefits of this regular activity are numerous and will be visible in the long term, both during and after its growth. So don’t hesitate to contact us for more details on our program.