Why parents let their children to become overweight?


Despite the rise in child obesity, experts point out that it’s wrong to just blame parents

A new study shows that the health risks for obese children may be even greater than it was previously thought. Then why do parents let their kids get overweight?

The the new school year started with reports of an increase in demand for extra-large uniforms for primary school pupils.

According to a new research, published by the University of Oxford, obese children and adolescents have several risk factors for heart disease, such as raised blood pressure and cholesterol, compared with normal weight children.

Obesity experts note that parents are facing many problems when it comes to the weight of their child. Some of them are a lack of education about food, limited cooking skills and limited money to buy healthier food, along with longer working hours and marketing campaigns for junk food aimed at kids.

But the fact that children now lead more sedentary lives is also creating big problems. Last week, a new study published in the UK indicated that up to 75% of junior school children chose to stay at home over going to their nearby park.

Researchers from Lightspeed note that watching TV was one of the most popular activities, with 89% of the kids saying it was how they liked best to spend their time away from school.

In July, scientists from University of Montreal announced that every extra hour of television that a toddler watches each week contributes size of their waist by the time they turn 10.

In this way while the problems parents are struggling with might be increasing, so is evidence about the dangers of obesity. So why do parents let their children get obese?

Diet A lot of parents know the reason why their kids are obese or overweight – they eat too much and do too little exercise. They try to help them, but things only change after children decide to help themselves.

Some parents realize that they are a bigger part of the problem. This is the case when they allow their children to pick up their own bad eating habits. Many even admit that they themselves have a “complicated relationship” with food and claim that they use it to bond with their kids.

However, despite the rise in child obesity, experts point out that it’s wrong to just blame parents.

According to Paul Gately, professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University, parents are definitely responsible, but the issue is much broader than that. He explains that many parents don’t realize their child is fat even if it might be obvious to other people. Studies indicate that 75% of parents underestimated the size of an overweight child, while 50% underestimated the size of an obese child.

Actually, despite all the talk about dealing with child obesity, there is very little professional help out there.

Most dietetic services will not see obese kids, because they don’t think they can be affective since they are aware of the fact that losing weight is about more than just the diet.

We clearly need an approach that combines diet, exercise, education and psychological support. The images of obesity that are shown in the media are of people who are 150kg or above. This is what a lot of people think of as being overweight, but these are extreme cases and it takes just a few extra kilograms to actually be overweight.

People also judge things based on what they see around them every day. Two thirds of adults in the UK, for example, are now classified as overweight, so the perception of what is considered as the average size to be has changed.

A parent and a child can also have pretty intense daily battles around food. When kids are hungry they often get angry and scream and parents usually end up shouting ‘just have it then’.

Experts note that from a very early age children are very good at using a “whole set of behaviours” to get what they want and nearly every parent has caved in to some sort of emotion blackmail from their child.

According to Charlie Powell, campaigns director of the Children’s Food, it’s also hard for parents to struggle with the barrage of junk food advertising.

They have to deal with a lot of problems to keep their children healthy. Junk food wasn’t around in the past and food manufacturers are very sophisticated in the techniques they use to appeal to children.


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