Childhood obesity is at an all-time high with NHS figures showing that more children are becoming obese as young as four or five years old. More than 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they begin school and almost 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
If your child is overweight or obese, there are plenty of fun, and often free, activities you can do together to help them become a healthy weight as they grow. Research has shown that children who are active and of a normal weight tend to be healthier, more self-confident, better able to learn and sleep better at night.
Childhood obesity isn’t just a worry for when children are young, it may have effects in adult life as well. It is thought that obese children are more likely to grow up to be obese adults. This is bad news for their future risk of health problems like type-2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as their quality of life.
Be an active role model and plan to do some activities together
Find a time each week to have some active fun as a family for example, cycling, walking, throwing a frisbee, or having a kick about. Or for tech-savvy kids, geocaching and Pokemon Go adventures provide a good excuse to get out and about.
Challenge your kids!
Kids love a challenge and a great way to motivate your child is to set them a task. For best results, set it realistically within their limits and remember to keep it fun and active.
Encourage your child to ‘have a go’ at lots of different activities
The last thing any parent needs is a bored child. To keep their spirits high and body active, encourage new and exciting ways to exercise, including trampolining, circus skills and street dancing.
Help to practise basic skills
These are essential skills which help to form the basis for future participation in physical activity and sport e.g. throwing, catching, kicking, running and jumping.
Praise and reward effort
Praise your child when they are being active. Be positive about accomplishments, big and small, and remember to recognise and reward persistence for taking part.
Find active alternatives for everyday jobs
Try to swap inactive behaviours for active ones e.g. watching TV without the remote control, walking your child to school instead of driving them, parking further away from the supermarket rather than the usual spot. Add all these small changes and you can make a really big difference