Childhood obesity is a major health concern for children in Ireland. Research indicates that one in four children in Ireland is now overweight or obese.
Children who are very overweight tend to grow up to obese adults, and this can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and some cancers in later life.
Children with a healthy weight, however, are shown to be healthy, fitter, better able to learn and more self-confident. They are also less likely to be bullied or suffer from low self-esteem.
As a parent, there are many things you can do to help your child to achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle.
- Show them the love
Ensure your child knows you love them just as they are, whatever their weight and size. This love will help your child to be strong and have confidence in the changes you and they need to make to become a healthier weight.
- Get them active
Physical activity is an important part of being healthy. It is recommended that children take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
The easiest way to do this is to help them choose an activity that is fun to do. If your child isn’t used to physical activity, help them build up to 60 minutes of activity every day.
One suggestion is to try to work the activity into their daily routines such as walking or cycling to school. Maybe make the activity a family event and do it together – go for a walk, dance around the living room or just play some ball.
- Eat well
You can eat your way through any amount of exercise, so it is important to get the food right. It is also important to take the time to teach your child what it means to be healthy and how food can impact their health and wellbeing. You can do this by explaining:
- what healthy food portion sizes look like,
- why they need to reduce sugar intake and treats,
- how to read food labels,
- how to make healthier food choices, and
- how to make healthy meals.
Safefood provide a helpful meal planner and lunch box ideas to help you create a healthy food plan for your child. We have also included several guides in the useful links section to help you and your children eat well.
Please link image to: http://www.safefood.eu/Childhood-Obesity/Your-Tools/Meal-Planner.aspx
- Living Well – What can I do if my child is overweight?
- Living Well – Get healthy as a family
- Living Well – How to involve your child in being healthy
- Safefood – Let’s take on childhood obesity
- Safefood – Healthy eating guide
- Safefood – Healthy meal planner
- Safefood – Healthy lunchbox ideas
Content developed from HSE www.hse.ie and NHS Choices www.nhs.uk is adapted for Galway East Medical Practice by Galway East Medical Practice.