Kids Obesity: What Governments Are Doing Wrong?
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Kids Obesity: What Governments Are Doing Wrong?

Walk into any school in the US, UK or Australia and you will notice a large percentage of children who are overweight or obese. Kids obesity is a real problem and is costing tax payers billions of dollars each year to treat. Kids obesity strategies are are only hitting the surface with most initiatives focusing on generalised programs for schools and the local communities. The real problem with kids obesity lies within the family nucleus. Everyday parents and kids make decisions that can ultimately impact on their weight and whether they will feel the impacts of kids obesity. These decisions include the types of foods the child will eat, the activities the child will participate in and how much of their time will be spent in a sedentary mindset.

This may raise some alarm bells as some parents may be yelling at the computer saying that kids obesity is much more complex and involves genetics, peers, advertising and processed foods. I agree that all of these contributors can have an impact, but maintain my argument that a decision still has to be made by the child and the parents before these contributors become a realistic concern. Let's take processed foods as an example, for kids obesity to take hold, one would expect that large quantities of processed foods with limited calorie expenditure needs to occur. For kids to be eating these levels, a decision by the child and parent needs to occur. Parents should be making decisions every day around the types of foods they will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and, as a result, these decisions ultimately sets an example on the types of foods the kids will eat as they move through their life.

Kids obesity is also linked with physical activity and more importantly the amount of calories a person burns each day directly impacts on the amount of weight gain that person will have. In simple terms kids obesity comes down to daily intact against daily expenditure. For kids obesity to be reduced and for your children to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a level of 10,000 steps should be set by families each and everyday. To achieve this then a moderate amount of exercise is required each and everyday. For kids, this should be relatively easy given that school programs encourage physical activity during the day. For parents, on the other hand, this can be difficult given that some jobs require 7-10 hours at a desk with limited movement or exercise.

Another temptation outlined above that some parents identify as a contributing factor to kids obesity is advertising and marketing by large companies. Admittedly kids can be persuaded into eating processed foods because of the ads they see on television. But if we were to be honest with ourselves as parents, we would have to agree that we have reinforced the success of these advertising campaign by buying the kids that processed item. Now I am not saying that kids obesity has occurred because you as parents have bought your kids processed foods and thus must never by them processed foods again. This is unrealistic and isn't the sole solution to reducing kids obesity. Everything is about moderation and kids can enjoy processed foods in a balanced diet. The problem is when processed foods become the main option in a child's daily diet.

Kids obesity is complex and governments around the world a spending millions of dollars each year to combat its impact. I believe it starts in the home with the decisions made by the parent and the child. If governments could focus more on the family nucleus I believe that kids obesity could be better handles and ultimately reduced.


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