There is something
very sad about fat children. Fat on a child just does not look natural. An
overweight woman can be seen as curvaceous and stately, an overweight man can
be imposing in a child their little bodies just look overburdened. Obesity in
children is becoming a worldwide problem with figures more that doubling in the
U.S in the last 20 years. Here in Cayman it is estimated that 45 percent of
children between three and seven are overweight.
Why more children are
overweight is blamed on any number of factors, the prevalence of junk food and
fast food outlets,TV and computer games, kids no longer walk to school and so
on so forth. But actually it all comes down to a simple equation; children are
overweight because they eat too much or eat too much junk food and take too
little exercise. And if a child is overweight by the time they are five the
only people who are to blame are the parents.
Parents are adept at
implying that there is some type of mystery about their child’s eating
habits,as if the child is an eccentric gastronomic rather than someone who has
been taught to have a deadened palate and possibly suffering from malnutrition.
You know the type of thing, the child will only eat deep-fried chicken wings or
french fries or patties or some other limited, food fetish that all needs
washed down by a fluorescent coloured drink that has only ever had a passing
acquaintance with any fruit.
Parents, this may
come as a complete surprise but you are the ones in charge. Delightful charming
and smart as your offspring undoubtedly is at the age of three, five or seven
they know nothing about food nutrition and health. You do. You are the ones
buying the food, you are the ones preparing it, you are the ones overfeeding
Just stop it! Your
child will probably moan for a few days but sooner or later they will get
hungry and begin to discover the wonders of vegetables and fruit and that
chicken does not have to be stuck in a vat of fat to be tasty.
The other excuse
often put out is it’s too expensive to eat well. Sorry, but that is not
strictly true. Porridge for instance costs next to nothing to make, similarly
soups, while a casserole of chicken probably costs the same as a chicken meal
out of a fast food joint.
You do not have to
have a degree in nutrition to know nutritious food from food that is high in
fat, sugar or chemicals. Very simply if foods glistens or is hard with fat –
bad; if it is so full of sugar the child gets high- bad ;if the ingredients on
a packet take up more than one line – bad; any drink that goes off the rainbow
range and fizzes -bad .
Now get your kids off the couch, take them
down the beach, swim with them, run with them, watch them play and remember
that it is a kid’s right to have health energy and joy. Give them back their