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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Childhood Obesity in the UK

There isn't a day goes by when childhood obesity isn't mentioned in the media. As a parent, words such as 'exploding nightmare' and 'decreased life expectancy' are very worrying indeed. The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity found that 6.1% of under 5's were overweight or obese in 2014 compared to 4.8% in 1990 which is clear proof that the problem is growing rapidly.

The Government are trying to do their bit with a few rather controversial policies such as the new sugar tax and The National Child Measurement Programme, but in my opinion, I think a lot more could be done to address the issue.

Childhood Obesity in the UK
It's important to us to stay active as a family

It is well documented that both Steve and I are overweight and part of our reason for wanting to lose weight and get fit and healthy ourselves is to set a good example to our children. To me, it's no good telling the kids that they can't drink pop when we are sitting there doing it ourselves. They need to see us living a healthy lifestyle if we want them to do the same and this is one of the main reasons why we decided it was time for change. 

Focusing on PE and Sport

When I was at school, I hated PE and running around the field in the freezing cold was fun for nobody. Times have changed now though (thankfully) and all schools receive a PE and sport premium from the government which they can use to invest in PE and sport. I think this is a wonderful idea and I have already seen massive changes in the way PE is taught at my children's school compared to twenty years ago. Harry has just signed up to free Judo classes, Heidi plays football at lunchtime with a professional coach and Jack loves playing on the school play equipment at break time. 

Childhood Obesity in the UK

ESP (Education, Sport and Play) are the leading provider for outdoor playground equipment for schools in the UK and have teamed up with Roehampton University to carry out some independent research into the effects of installing Multi-Skills Zones and professionally training staff in schools. Here are some of the headline figures:-

  • An increase in 4.9 minute of Moderate to Vigorous Physical activity per child per day
  • 7.5% increase in observed physical activity levels
  • Overall, girls increased their activity levels more

All good stuff! Schools can use their PE and sport premium to invest in outdoor play equipment for Early Years Play (nature areas, roadways, play towers and music for example), Primary Years Play (such as Infinity trails, multi skills areas and trim trails) or Secondary Years Play (multi-skills zones, climbing equipment and even outdoor table tennis for example) which I think is fantastic as the equipment that's available can be used both in break times and during structured PE or sport lessons. 

Childhood Obesity in the UK

I think this is just the start though, and schools only have a part to play. A lot of the fight against childhood obesity is down to us parents. Although my children moan at me when I tear them away from their laptops to go on a bike ride, tell them they aren't allowed any more sweets or suggest we walk to the beach rather than taking the car, I hope that they will see in the future that it's all been for their own good. 

What do you think about Childhood Obesity in the UK? How do you think it should be tackled? 

This is a collaborative post, all thoughts are my own.

1 comment

  1. I think parents and food manufacturers have a huge part to play. Sport and activity is so important, but if kids are routinely eating too much, sport is not enough. Parents need to think about portion sizes and treats - buy an ice cream as a treat, but don't buy an ice cream with two scoops, marshmallows and a flake. Parents just need to think sensibly about what children actually need and don't give in to pester power from the kids or attractive advertising from the manufacturers.


I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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