Obesity in NSW kids

17/06/2014 Help for Parents

The University of Sydney has published a paper in the Medical Journal of Australia that looks at obesity in NSW kids. The study found that one in four children in NSW are overweight or obese. This means that in a class of 30 children, approximately 8 students will be overweight or obese. The study also focused on the health outcomes for Aboriginal children, finding that one in three Aboriginal children in NSW are overweight or obese.

Although the news doesn’t sound good, the study highlighted some behaviours that we can all change that will help contribute to a healthier weight range for our kids. For example:

35 to 50% of NSW children eat dinner in front of the TV

Eating in front of the TV isn’t a good habit as it can lead to mindless overeating. Plus, children miss out on the enjoyable family experience of eating a meal together at the dinner table. It’s important to practice mindful eating from a young age to help develop healthy eating behaviours for the rest of their life. Try to eat together as a family as much as possible and discuss the food you’re eating and how it tastes. Discuss fullness and hunger cues and don’t force your child to clear the plate if they’re not hungry. Here are some more great tips on how to practice mindful eating.

50 to 60% of NSW children are rewarded for good behaviour with sugary foods

Rewarding children with “occasional” foods (such as lollies, chocolates and chips), teaches them that these  foods are something to be coveted and desired, while also sending the message that healthy food is a punishment! This can create negative views of nutritious foods that can affect a child for the rest of their life. Instead, try using rewards that promote a healthy and active lifestyle such as an extra 30 minutes at the playground, a trip to a swimming pool, or a special evening walk with mum or dad.

A quarter of NSW children are not eating breakfast!

This is a concerning statistic as we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides children with the fuel they need for the rest of the day while allowing them to focus during class. If your child is not a regular breakfast eater, start introducing small portions of food and increasing it slowly. If you’re not sure what to feed your child in the morning, browse through our breakfast items page for some ideas. If your child complains they’re not hungry in the mornings, try adding some outdoor activity to their morning routine – a quick jump on the trampoline or kicking a ball in the backyard might be enough to get their metabolism started and spur on hunger.

The important thing to takeaway from this study is that there are small changes we can make that can have a lasting impact on the lifestyle habits of our children.


JUNE 17, 2014