As a new Dad one of my biggest concerns is the growing number of children that are overweight or classed as obese.
According to the World Health Organisation, in 2010, there were around 40 million children under the age of 5 who were overweight worldwide. In the same year, 3 out of 10 children aged 2 to 15 were obese in the UK alone. These are frightening statistics and the numbers seem to be getting bigger.
Children need a healthy, balanced diet that gives them enough energy to grow and develop. This means that children usually need to take in more energy than they use and this extra energy forms new tissues as they grow. However, as we know if we regularly take in too much energy, this is stored as fat and we then put on excess weight.
Inactivity is also a huge contributor to weight gain, parents need to reduce the amount of time their child spends watching television or using a computer and to encourage them to get active. Children over the age of five need to do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day. This can be one session of activity or a number of sessions of 10 minutes or more.
Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and are more likely to develop diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Being overweight or obese is preventable, therefore prevention of childhood obesity needs high priority.