Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions across the globe with latest statistics revealing that if nothing is done to prevent or manage childhood obesity, as many as 268 million school-aged children around the world will be overweight or obese by 2025.
This is scary, especially when we attach childhood obesity to the likelihood of adulthood obesity and the resulting risk factors thereof. Overweight and obese children or teens are more likely than to develop high blood pressure, type two diabetes, sleep apnoea and joint problems than their peers of a healthy weight. This means chronic management of disease from a young age. Each of these conditions has further complications associated with them such as the risk for stroke, heart attacks, kidney failure and blindness. The longer you live with a chronic disease, the more likely you are to suffer its complications, resulting in a severely reduced quality of life.
There is a strong likelihood that obesity will follow a child into adulthood so while these disease conditions may not manifest during childhood, the same risk remains for the obese adult. A child’s health therefore is directly related to adulthood health and risk for the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes. November is diabetes month and there is no better time than now to address the issue of obesity many young children are facing.
While diabetes is a chronic disease, the good news is that childhood obesity is something we can prevent and treat. Research as revealed the first 1000 days of life to be the most important for establishing healthy eating behaviour and achieving optimal nutrition intake as a result. It is therefore never too early to start with healthy eating practices. That said, it is also never too late to make a change. The most important key to managing childhood obesity is family involvement.
5 ways to prevent or manage diabetes when planning family meals:
Prepare vegetables every day
1. Include legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, split lentils, dry beans often
2. Choose high fibre starches rather than those refined of their fibre
3. Avoid frying and the use of large quantities of oil or other fat sources
4. Limit sugar containing beverages
Healthy Family Recipes
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