Sadly, it’s becoming more and more normalised for children to stay indoors on their phones and devices when they have time off. With all of this in mind, it should come as no real surprise that child obesity is at an all time high in the UK. Extended School clubs, school sports matches and PE lessons are often where children are getting most of their exercise.
While your kids have no doubt earned a bit of a break from classes and school, it’s still really important that their minds and bodies are kept busy throughout their time off. Winter is here, and the kids are excited for a few lazy weeks away from school, packed with gifts and treats. But just because they’re getting time off class, it doesn’t mean they don’t still need to be active!
Over the course of the academic year, your kids will have built up momentum in both their physical and mental exercises, and allowing them to be inactive over the holidays can cause them to lose this. After all, training regularly and maintaining a routine are two of the most important factors if you want to get ahead in any sport. Not all kids will jump at the opportunity to tire themselves out in the local park these days, and safety concerns mean that the days where all the kids in a neighbourhood can go off alone and have fun are more or less over.
If your kids do extracurricular sports like football or martial arts, it’s tempting to take a break from these sessions over the holidays and go back in the new year. This can result in a real hit to a child’s social life and activity levels, and many kids will end up losing motivation over the break and give up on the sport altogether. Getting our kids moving is the key to fighting our increasing weight problem, and getting the kids out of the house once or twice a week will do their physical health and your mental health a world of good!
FACT: According to NHS Digital, 1 in 3 children in the UK are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, with more than 1 in 5 children overweight or obese before they even start going to school.
Encourage your children to keep up their training throughout their winter break if you want to do one thing to improve their health today. Do keep in mind, however, that other factors like diet, technology and illness also contribute to the childhood obesity problem.
Both individually and as a family, winter is certainly one of the best times of year to enjoy fun activities outdoors. When else can your garden or local park be transformed into such a unique landscape, perfect for snowmen, snowball fights and sledding? As nice as it is to stay in and keep warm, nothing compares to the feeling of coming inside and warming up after a fun afternoon in the snow.
Why Do Sports Over the Holidays?
- To keep the children entertained.
- To learn new skills and tricks.
- To keep the family healthy and active.
- To make the most of the seasonal weather.
- To stop them losing interest and wasting the effort they’ve put in.
- To maintain a sense of routine.
Always Burn off what You Eat
It’s in the interests of every parent to make sure that their child is not storing up problems for the future. Teaching this to children will give them something to focus on. Even though
it’s one of the simplest weight management ideas out there, this seems to be the message that people have the most difficulty with. It’s a great way to illustrate the importance of healthy eating and activity if you can find a way to communicate the link between calories and activity.
Success in combating obesity will only come if you and your family combine a healthy diet with an active lifestyle. Making sure that these two things are done is not just your child’s responsibility, and it’s important we all remember that. If you don’t fully understand what it means to get the right balance between food and activity, there’s no point in throwing around terms like ‘healthy eating’.
If you or your child is overweight or obese, this suggests that you are not burning off all of the calories you consume, and as a result they are being stored in your bodies as fat. A doctor can measure your BMI (Body Mass Index) to see if you fall into these categories. A BMI of over 30 indicates obesity in adults.
Eat Well and Stay Active
Your child will be on the way to success if they understand how important it is to eat well and stay active. Opportunities to become more active are vital for childhood health, and supermarkets, schools, sports clubs and the health service all have an important role to play in ensuring they keep our children healthy by providing these opportunities alongside healthy food choices. This action must be backed by the authorities and everyone involved in the food industry, local government and educational and sporting industries.
Shops and canteens should be working to make healthy food options widely available and accessible, and better quality foods, according to experts from the World Health Organisation, need to replace the energy-dense drinks and snacks that fill our children’s diets. This becomes all the more important when we consider that Foresight, a government sponsored project, has predicted that by 2050 a quarter of all Britain’s children will be obese.
Opportunities for everyday physical activities, according to the WHO, should be provided by schools and extra-curricular programmes.
REMEMBER: Before a doctor can conclude whether a not a patient is obese, they need to carefully measure and weigh them. Weight (in kg) is they divided by height (m) squared to calculate the patient’s BMI.
For more information about childhood obesity, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Fit Kids in 15 Minutes from age 7-17 which is aimed at increasing physical activity without the need for specialist equipment and an excessive amount of time. Need2Know also have some great books about weight training for women, anorexia and bullying. Whether your child is newly diagnosed, you’re concerned about their weight or just curious, we have all the information you need!