We all know that in the UK that we are in the middle of an obesity crisis!
With new and even scarier statistics coming out every day, we need some brand new innovative ways to tackle this crisis head on…
Organisations such as #Change4Life which is run by the NHS have already paved the way with a multitude of campaigns which aim to improve both ours and our children’s health. One of these focuses on sugar intake & snacking – something that as a country we need to change.
In order to make a start at reducing obesity in the UK we need to look at both our exercise and eating habits.
And this starts with our children…
Obesity in the UK is at an all-time high. It is predicted that by 2034, 70% of adults in the UK will be either overweight or obese! This is due to an increase in the amount of children who are overweight or obese when leaving primary school.
It is estimated that a total of 30% of children leave primary school aged 11 being overweight or obese! And this is having a direct impact on both their physical and mental health.
Children who carry excess weight are more likely to suffer from bullying whilst at school. This will therefore have a direct impact on their self-esteem and self-confidence often leaving them feeling worthless, or unwanted.
These feelings can then result in truancy or becoming disconnected in school.
These unnecessary absences can lead to children falling behind in their school work, subsequently having a direct impact on their education and their exam results. This may then hinder them later in life, and reduce their ability to secure a job.
Not only will their school attendance become affected by absence due to mental health issues.
Children who carry an excess of weight can also become ill as a direct result of their weight gain. Children who are either obese or overweight are known to suffer from:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Bone and Joint Problems
- Breathing difficulties
Not only can they suffer from these types of illnesses in childhood, but they can also suffer from a range of more serious illnesses when they approach adulthood.
- Heart disease
- Type two diabetes
- Certain cancers.
All of which can result in premature mortality.
The main causes of obesity in childhood comes from a poor diet and low levels of physical activity.
Sugar is one of the major contributors to weight issues in the UK!
Many children get 50% of their daily intake of sugar from unhealthy snacks. 30% of this comes from drinks, such as fizzy pops and juice cartons.
As well as causing weight gain, excess sugar is also a leading factor of tooth decay in the UK. Making sugar an all-round problem! The best way to reduce sugar in your diet is to cut back on unhealthy snacks and where possible choose lower calorie, lower sugar alternatives.
Each year it is suspected that children consume a total of:
As a result of this over indulging on sugary snacks, children are getting three times more sugar than government guidelines suggest.
So swap your unhealthy sugary snacks for something just a little healthier.
NHS guidelines suggest that children should be allowed to consume as many fruits and vegetables as they want. In fact they are encouraged to do so!
However they state that they are only allowed two 100 calorie snacks per day. These can include either a healthy hummus and carrot stick snack or one custard cream. But the key is to look for 100!
#Change4Life have online recipes which give helpful lunchbox ideas. These recipes come with ideas for a full lunchbox including a sandwich, salad, or other main alternative. They also include a couple of snacks and even a drink suggestion.
Some of the suggested 100 calorie snacks may include: malt loaf, fromage frais, fruit salad, chopped vegetables & hummus and many more!
Reducing sugar intake and saying no to unhealthy snacks is only the first step in battling this ever growing obesity epidemic which is sweeping our nation.
Another key way to ensure a healthy lifestyle is to promote regular exercise.
Children under the age of 15 are not participating in their daily recommended amount of exercise! Just 21% of boys and 16% of girls are actually getting a full hours’ worth of physical activity a day. And though it is essential that we encourage a change of diet, it is just as important to tackle the lack of physical activity that children are participating in too.
There are many ways in which children can increase the amount of exercise which they are getting daily!
One of those ways is to participate in #TheDailyMile™. You can read all about The Daily Mile™ in our blog here.
Another way in which children can get their daily recommended exercise is through use of Sunshine Gym’s Children’s Outdoor Fitness Equipment.
Our equipment can be found in local parks as well as at schools and children’s centres across the UK.
Our children’s fitness equipment range is designed specifically for children under 140cm and aims to help them to burn excess fat as well as enable them to have fun and improve their fitness levels whilst doing so.