Changing The African Food Narrative

CHILD OBESITY: HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD

Obesity in children is becoming increasingly rampant globally. Food brands keep coming up with new and exciting products that bedazzle us and are easy to get hooked on. Optimal intake of foods with micro-nutrients is very important for children as they not only ensure proper development, but also ensure mental well-being.

According to the WHO, “The vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries.”

“If current trends continue the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will increase to 70 million by 2025” http://www.who.int/end-childhood-obesity/facts/en/

Obesity causes and increase risks of contracting illnesses later in life. Research and findings have associated obesity and being overweight with long-lasting physical and psychological effects such as ADHD, low self esteem, anxiety and depression. In addition to this is the likelihood that obese children are likely to grow to become obese adults, thus, early intervention is very crucial. After being confirmed obese/overweight by a doctor, here are five things to help children get back to a more healthy state:

  1. NO NAME-CALLING: Our culture is such that terms like ‘orobo’, ‘agric’ and ‘fattybumbum’ are tossed around casually in referring to overweight children. Besides the fact that children are sensitive and you might be chipping away at their self confidence with your mouth, parents should also realize that their kids would take how they perceive their parents feel about to heart. Never tease them about their weight!

 

  1. ENCOURAGE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: The extent of physical exercise or activities is P.E at school Many children from well-do-homes are Chauffeur driven to school, waited on hand and food by maids, and are fed pretty much anything their minds conjure. Overweight children should be encouraged to participate in more physical activities, particularly enjoyable ones like running, swimming, walking and cycling.

 

  1. CHANGE THEIR DIETS: If a child’s obesity is caused by diet rather than health challenges, then a diet change is order. Be firm and deliberate about menu choices, opting for healthier options and brain-friendly option. Junk foods, fast foods, processed foods, sugary foods and all other options related to the western diet should be struck off your timetable. In this case, leadership by example is always a good option. Find fun and creative ways to make your child enjoy these healthier alternatives.

 

  1. HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE: As a means enforcing more activities and healthier options, some unhealthy habits have to go. Habits such as long hours spent in front of TV should be stopped. This would not only create more quality time with family, it could also be put to more productive activities like cooking meals together, and some of the activities listed above.

 

  1. JUNK FOOD IS NO REWARD: Never let your kids get used to being rewarded with junk foods or from a packet. Many moms get rid of mom guilt with candy, snacks, or a trip to a fast food store. Many parents also use junk foods as a time saver and as fillers for lunch packs. Let your child get used to fruits, natural sugars, and healthy foods.

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