As a dietitian and nutritionist for more than 15 years, the most common emotion I encounter in parents is guilt. The latest figures show that 25.1% of Australian kids aged 2-17 years are overweight or obese.
Researchers, including the team I work with, describe the society we live in as “obesogenic”. Unhealthy food is cheaper and more easily available than healthy food, leisure activities are increasingly about sitting in front of a screen, and our towns and cities are built more for cars than for pedestrians or cyclists.
You only have to look at the sponsorship at a sporting club sign-on day to see how directly junk food companies market to children. For children, healthy weight is defined as being below the 85th percentile for body mass index (BMI) for age. In most Australian states, those BMI charts would be in the Personal Health Record book you get when your child is born. You probably haven’t checked up on their growth since they were a baby - but checking growth, just like checking teeth, vision, hearing etc, is good to do on a regular basis. The right serving sizes vary by gender and age, but for primary schoolers it’s around 5 serves of vegetables, 2 serves fruit, 4 serves grains and cereals, 2? serves of the meat group and 2? serves of the dairy group. The brochure gives equivalents of what you can swap for what and still get roughly the same calorie and nutrient intake. A recent survey showed that on average, Australian children get around 40% of their calories from those discretionary foods, which means they’re seriously missing out on food that’s better for them. Aim to keep kids active for around 60 minutes a day and spend no more than two hours in front of a screen.
In the late 1990s, Flinders University dietitians and researchers developed a healthy lifestyle program for families of overweight primary school aged kids, which they called PEACH (Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health). Over the past 15 years, around 300 families in South Australia, New South Wales, and most recently Queensland have taken part in a PEACH program.
The program is run over a six-month period to help change behaviours of the whole family, with 10 group sessions where the parents and carers meet while their kids play, as well as three support phone calls and a handbook with tips and recipes. With funding from the Queensland and federal governments, our team from QUT is now rolling out the PEACH program across Queensland. There are countless reasons why more of our kids are growing up overweight and obese, many of which are out of our control as parents. If you’re part of a Queensland family that wants to be part of the free program, you can register here.
If you are still not convinced, consider the medical bills you will pay from developing diet-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Compared to spending thousands on medical treatment, purchasing healthy foods is the cheaper option by far. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. Those who are interested in this should begin looking for information that is valid and health-conscious.
It is essential to all kinds of entire grains, legumes, greens and fruits in several meals, together with seeds and nuts, too. This medicine has been extensively thought-about because the drug of selection for managing osteoporosis. A healthy diet is a crucial part of an overall healthy, balanced lifestyle, and over the past few years, there has been a serious shift toward focusing on internal health, rather than dieting to try to lose weight or achieve a certain look.
Helen Vidgen is a member of the Public Health Association of Australia and is the national convenor of their Food and Nutrition group. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.
And it’s little wonder - if you’re an Australian parent, you have a one-in-four chance of raising a child outside the healthy weight range. BMI for children is calculated the same way as it is for adults: weight (measured in kilograms) divided by height squared (measured in metres). But for children, the bands or percentiles change according to age to account for growing bodies. So the main tips for trying to keep a lid on unhealthy growth are to firstly try to keep to eating only the food serves recommended in this Australian Guide to Healthy Eating brochure. Try to stick to just eating this as much as you can, and your child will get all of the nutrients they need in the right amounts.
Drinking is a really quick way of taking in a lot of calories without feeling full and without knowing it.
Try to make the time you spend together active, such as swapping couch time for a pre-dinner family walk. A research trial, published in Pediatrics, found that participating in PEACH produced a relative weight loss of 10% in moderately obese children aged 5-9, which was maintained over a period of two years. For instance, the Innes family from Adelaide say they still eat healthier and lead more active lives than before they took part in the program three years ago. The idea is to give parents the skills they need to recognise the risks in our obesogenic society, and how to plan ahead to avoid them. It’s available free to Queensland families with a child 5-11 years old above a healthy weight for their age and gender, and over the next three years we hope to help 1400 children across the state. But research also tells us that children who are above a healthy weight while young have a really high chance of staying that way as adults. But as the Innes family show, the choices we make can make a crucial difference to our kids' futures. But not one thing you’d anticipate, extra and more Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits are now being filed because of the hostile results which will end result after extended use of the drug.
However, it is important to do your research and familiarize with research from different nutritionists, doctors, and health experts. That means that more children who were overweight are now obese, and those who were obese children are now more obese. Instead, the odds are increasingly stacked against us as parents trying to do the right thing by our kids. Those are just a few examples of many small things that add up to make it harder to keep kids within a healthy weight range. Low-fat milks are recommended for children over two, as they still have all the nutrients, but with less of the fat.
By relying on information that you were taught as a child, or by only following the instruction of one doctor, you might be missing out on valuable information.
Yogurt, milk, juice, breakfast cereal, and other products that are advertised as having extra added Omega 3s, Vitamin C, Calcium, or antioxidants are popular choices among people who want to eat only healthy foods and meals. For example, drinking orange juice that has extra added calcium might seem like a great way to achieve your recommended calcium intake; however the calcium that is added to orange juice isn’t always the type or strength you need, and orange juice does not make it easy for your body to absorb. Most vitamins and minerals have specific foods or other nutrients that need to be taken with them in order for optimum absorption, so throwing added nutrients into everything usually isn’t very effective. It’s just messing with nature.Natural Food for Better HealthIf you really want to eat healthy foods and meals, your best bet is to eat natural, unprocessed food.
If vitamins and minerals are what you seek, it’s best to get them from their natural sources, rather than as supplements tacked on to other processed foods. Vitamins and minerals in their natural forms (in the foods they naturally occur in) are made to be easier to absorb, so they will be more effective and have a better and more positive impact o your body and overall health.
Take some time to learn about what combinations of foods are the most powerful and will benefit your body the most, and plan your meals accordingly. There aren’t heavy legal restrictions on what can be classified as organic, and many brands will use the organic label simply to sell their products, even if they don’t quite fit the organic description.
You should always do a little research on the brands you are interested in buying to decide if they really are free of chemical pesticides, genetic modification, and other potentially harmful procedures. You might also want to look at the organic regulations in your area to determine just how easy it is for companies to earn that designation for their products.If you aren’t certain that the produce you are buying actually lives up to its organic title, there is a simple solution to ensure that you are getting the wholesome, organic food that you need: grow it yourself!
If you have space for a garden, you should take advantage of it and try growing your own vegetables.
You’ll know where they came from and will feel more comfortable eating them, and will be saving money and trips to the grocery store as well.Eating healthy foods and meals is a noble goal, but if you are not careful, you can easily be fooled into eating things that aren’t the best for your health. Chief editor and author at LERAblog, writing useful articles and HOW TOs on various topics. Particularly interested in topics such as Internet, advertising, SEO, web development and business.Do you like this post?
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