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Obesity is defined as a condition in which excess fat has accumulated, to the
extent that health may be impaired.
The prevalence of Childhood Obesity has escalated greatly. Figures indicate that one quarter of all children
and adolescents in Australia are considered to be overweight or obese (this
translates to 1.5 million individuals aged less than 18 years).
From 1985, the incidence of those who are overweight has increased by an
alarming 60-70% with obesity almost doubling.
What is also frightening
is that so many of these overweight and obese children maintain this body
composition and lifestyle into and throughout their adult lives.
also be stated that Childhood Obesity is increasing by 1% each year - what this means is
that by the year 2025 approximately half of all children will be classed as being overweight.
So what are the causes of this epidemic?
It is believed that Australian children
as a whole are eating more (there has been an increase of 10% energy intake)
whilst physical activity has decreased.
Today's society is one of convenience
and technology. More and more time is being spent by children playing
computer games and watching television, in turn there is a distinct lack of
physical activity through exercising and playing outside.
The primary cause of Childhood Obesity appears to be energy imbalance combined with the
lack of physical activity. The burden that this places on our health care system
each year is estimated to be $680-$1239 million.
Many organised sports
have led to a decrease in participation rate of 30%, with physical activity also
reducing in our schools.1
Holistic Natural Therapy and Naturopathic Advice
With the statistics aside there are some serious health effects that this
Being overweight or obese as a child has serious health
consequences with many health issues transferring into adulthood. Below is
a list of health concerns and conditions which generally carry into adult life
and are directly related to Childhood Obesity;
• Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
• Increased risk of morbidity and mortality
• Increased risk of Heart Disease, hypertension, high blood cholesterol
and blood sugar
• Increase in respiratory disorders including asthma
• Increase in arthritis and orthopaedic problems
• Increase in sleep disorders
• Lowered self esteem and self confidence
The behavioural and psychological aspects of developing good eating habits, which includes knowleadge of proper nutrition and diets, and
exercise habits must be addressed for long-term success in weight control.
The aim of sustained weight management is to maximise nutritional intake
and control hunger, support or improve metabolic rate, while achieving a
moderate energy deficit for gradual weight loss.
Keep in mind that as a parent you are a great influence on your child.
that healthy food and exercise is promoted within the household - if they
see you eating healthy and exercising - the same behaviour should then be
passed on to them. What they learn at this time in their life will then transfer
to their adult lives so be sure to support your child in adopting a healthy diet with adequate exercise.
Personal Training and Fitness Advice
For this problem Childhood Obesity to be addressed we need to directly target the causes.
Although controlling energy intake is a factor, ensuring that your child is
including enough physical activity into their day is a must.
At least 20-30
minutes of physical activity is required on most to all days of the week, with
the optimum amount of exercise being 45-60 minutes.
Exercise for children
does not have to be difficult. However there are two forms of exercise that need to be considered when organizing physical activity for a child. Just as in
any exercise program both aerobic exercise and strength training complement
each other for a complete workout.
Aerobic exercise is greatly important for the growing child. This form of
exercise will ensure that your child remains fit and allows the heart and lungs
to remain healthy. Such activities as cycling, running, walking, team sports
etc are all fine examples for children and adolescents to partake in as part of
an organised exercise program.
Other ideas are also to look into having your
child join such organizations as Scouts or Girl Guides and Brownies - all of
which hold regular group physical activity sessions.
It is also important to remember that strength training should be included to tone and develop muscle strength and shape. Light weights can be lifted over a high number of repetitions - which is appropriate for the age group being considered. Weight training can be performed 2 - 3 days per week with the focus being on the major muscles of the upper and lower body.
REFERNCES* ( see below)
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