Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Dynamic Lifestyle | More than one way to skin the fat

Published:Monday | June 20, 2016 | 6:00 AMPatrice White
An overweight persons digs into a box of fast food.

There is a rising epidemic plaguing our families - childhood obesity. Experts reveal that most children only engage in physical activity once per week. This is compounded by the global village we live in, where media and advertising are literally at their fingertips, advertising some of the most unhealthiest of foods, increasing their desires for them.

The discussion must be had about how we can take back our children's health, for them to be the best and most dynamic version of themselves.

In our last feature, we started the discussion of childhood obesity, to help you better understand the issue. Today, we will be looking at a local case and ways parents can help prevent childhood obesity.

The Daleys* currently have an overweight teenager whom we'll call Melissa. Melissa is fun and full of life. However, her weight is a factor - a factor that causes her to be teased at school.

Here are both Melissa's and her parents' stories:

 

Melissa's mom

 

"Growing up, her typical breakfast would be cereal, with biscuits and juice for her lunch box. As she got older we gave her lunch money for cooked food. She would buy what she wanted, which would sometimes not be healthy. She has always had a sweet tooth for cakes, and her favourite food is burgers. I would not say I am a health (food) freak, but I don't eat sweet stuff and I have always watched my portion. I'm not picky, but I have breakfast and lunch, sometimes dinner. I don't usually eat after 7 p.m.

"Over the years, we have tried relentlessly for her to lose weight so we do walks with her and even went to the gym with her."

Melissa's take: "Mummy and Daddy would get healthy food, but at times we would get fast food (but not very often). I have been teased for as long as I can remember. I've always been a overweight child, so I was teased by children at school and adults. My friends tease me, and though I know they're just joking, sometimes it hurts.

"The truth is, I have never liked what I see in the mirror. I've been depressed, especially now that I'm at the age where I like boys, so I want to feel 'pretty'. Even though I'm overweight, I don't think I eat that much. I can eat a meal for the day and be fine. I usually eat healthy food like salad or fish, but I like sweet stuff and juice, so when I get a chance I'll eat it - it's a bad habit but I'm trying to cut it out now since I'm trying to lose weight."

Here are a few tips for Melissa's parents and others.

 

1. Lead by example - Children model what they see

 

First, be the change you wish to see. Begin to model what eating healthy and working out entails so that children have a model for change. We can't expect them to take on what they don't know.

 

2. Research childhood nutrition - Clean house, cleaner diets

 

a. Combine five fruits and vegetables daily is a basic mix. Ensure that water is had first thing in the morning and throughout the day.

b. Slowly eradicate the use of sugars and processed foods in the house.

 

3. Engage in Family Activity Push for children to do a sport

 

This is the first generation with a lower life expectancy - let's fix it by creating traditions such as family sports that will engage the cultural and physical states of our youth. Dance, run or play a sport for half hour to an hour every day.

 

4. Bring Kids In The

 

 

Kitchen - Less fast

 

 

foods, more family foods

 

Let's teach our children how to eat and cook with colours and right proportions. We've allowed fast food to be our mainstay for too long.

 

5. Nutrition Accountability Start food journals

 

 

at an early age

 

From a young age, children need structure and fun. Why not create a game of writing down all they eat and allow them to win points at the end of each week? Allow them to pack their lunch bags with the foods they feel are good for them. The better they eat, the more points they receive. This will allow them to grow up into healthy and functional adults who are cognisant of what they eat and are smart about their nutrition.

I'm positive that with the track that Melissa is on, and with her parents taking this advice, she'll be fit in no time. Until next time, stay Dynamic and let's all try to become the best version of ourselves.

* Not real name

• Patrice J. White is a certified lifestyle and transformation coach and founder and president of the Sonic Steppers Running Club.Email:info@patricejwhite.com. Instagram/Twitter @Patricejwhite. Give her a call at 876-GETTFIT (876-438- 8348).