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Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

This is Childhood Obesity Week.

From the time a baby is born, it links the provision of food with love as it suckles on its mother’s breast for the first time.  As a child, you probably remember being offered a sweet as a treat, or a biscuit to make you feel better.  We learn that sugar- and fat-laden foods are treats which are given if we endure the healthy food – “you can have your ice-cream once you have finished your dinner.”  Add to this the convenience of fast food, it’s no wonder that childhood obesity is a problem.

In 2010 The World Health Organisation reported that there are around 40 million children under the age of five who are overweight.  It is thought that this figure is much higher in the UK – apparently we have the highest rates in Western Europe.  All of this despite the education we have around food.  And we only have ourselves to blame.

The great news is that we can change it.  You are in control of what you put on your table and what you stock your cupboards with.  Not so easy is getting used to the language that we use with our children to position healthy food as desirable and junk food as, well, junk.  I help a lot of adults lose weight and many of them say that they have so much temptation at home with the crisps and sweets they have in the cupboards for the kids, as though these are necessities.  Much better to teach your child that treats are the healthy, colourful foods which make up a healthy diet.

In the nine years to 2009, there was more than a four-fold increase in the number of children requiring hospital treatment for problems associated with obesity.  It can lead to conditions such as type-2 diabetes, breathing difficulties, and more.  It usually causes low self-esteem as an added bonus.  So, teaching your child to have a healthier relationship with food is a great foundation for them in life.  Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure there is a lot of colour on the plate – this will provide your child with lots of nutrients for health, mood and brain function.
  2. Make sure portions are child-sized, not adult-sized.
  3. All meals should have protein which is necessary for a growing child and to stave off hunger pangs.
  4. Give them regular meals and healthy snacks in between – a few almonds or a piece of fruit are a great way of providing nutrients and balancing blood sugar.  A glass of milk is another option and is great for bones and teeth.
  5. Keep beige food (burgers, fries, biscuits and cakes) to an absolute minimum – call it emergency only food because there is no real food available at the moment.  Never, never, never, frame fast food, sweets, biscuits or cakes as a treat.
  6. Instead of using food as a way of soothing emotions, teach your child recognise their emotions and to respond to them in a positive way.  It is OK to feel emotions.  As humans, we are supposed to feel.  However, they should be taught to deal with them in a positive way.  Teach them EFT to help them.
  7. Involve them in deciding what to eat – make choosing a new fruit or vegetable a game that they play.  Involve them in new and different ways of cooking healthy foods, or of eating them raw.  Fruit kebabs are fun, cruditees and vegetable dips too.
  8. Eliminate unhealthy sugars and re-educate their pallet for healthier foods.
  9. Make exercise and activity part of their daily life.  This is good for them emotionally, physically and socially.  It also keeps their mind off food.

As parents, we are either part of the solution or part of the problem- your children will take their cue from you.   If you are concerned for your child’s health and weight, why not book a consultation on 0845 130 0854.

© Tricia Woolfrey 2014

Tricia Woolfrey is an integrative therapist, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, master practitioner in NLP, nutritionist and author, and utilises bioenergetics to help you be the best you can be.  She has practices in Surrey and Harley Street, London.  She can be reached on 0845 130 0854 www.yourempoweredself.co.uk.