Healthy living

Skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity on Cayman Brac, as reported in last weekend’s Observer on Sunday, is not just a local problem, but a global one.

The report revealed that 40 per cent of children aged three to five on the Brac are obese or overweight

While poverty and malnutrition plague many children in the world, another type of poverty and malnutrition is sinister in its effect on the children of our more industrialised counties, including our beloved Cayman.

Children may be overweight, but are mal-nourished. Quick and easy meals, fast foods and pre-packaged, cellophane wrapped snacks that lack nutrition, have become staples in the daily diet leading to obesity.

It’s heartening for someone like me who has worked in the area of weight loss and healthy living for over thirty years to see that there are still concerned professionals and parents addressing this issue.

Where can you begin to help your overweight child? Parents need to own up to their role of responsibility for what comes into the house from the supermarket and also how food is used as a reward for good behaviour or as a way to keep children from being bothersome. Designing a family meal plan that includes ‘healthy’ junk-food items also helps. Lifestyles with Donna can provide solutions for you and your family in this regard.

On a positive note, I do meet children who have been raised to know the taste of celery, carrots, good wholesome foods and fresh water. I do know teenagers who will not drink a diet soda because of the chemical content. What is sad is that these are select children and in the minority.

Education, support and continuity are vital to bring a change to this sad and dangerous trend. One option for parents with overweight children is to investigate summer camping programs in the United States for overweight children. Please contact [email protected] for more information. Efforts in the past to begin such a camp in Cayman have met with lack of support unfortunately. Please contact me if you wish to support such an idea.