PARENTS are failing their children when it comes to battling childhood obesity, experts say.
Almost one in four Australian children are obese or overweight by the time they begin primary school.
Port Macquarie personal trainer Graeme Lawlor from Everybody Fitness says parents are 100 per cent to blame.
Long gone are the days where the average child meets their daily exercise needs naturally, he said
“Kids are way less active with the lifestyles they are leading now,” he said. “And parents don’t understand their responsibility when it comes to feeding them the right foods and controlling how much time they spend in front of the TV.” To tackle the advent of the digital-age and an overload of high fat and high sugar foods, kid-specific weight loss programs and exercise regimes are becoming more common in our region.
Some children, are subject to strict diets and personal trainers to combat their weight problems.
And nutritionists and medical professionals are seeing more cases of serious health conditions stemming from unhealthy weight.
Tiger crawls, tug-of-war and tough tactics are all part of an innovative military-style program Mr Lawlor hopes will help get local littlies in shape.
His kids bootcamp - targeted at children aged six to 16 – is designed to inspire children to lead healthy lifestyles and foster a love of active living. He said the hour-long classes focused specifically on fun activities that “make kids tick”.
Local mum and healthy living advocate Dawn Marchment has been blow away by the benefits of getting her kids active.
“They were absolutely glowing today,” Mrs Marchment said of her children after a bootcamp session. “They just love it.”
She agreed parents were completely responsible for the health of their children. After losing an astonishing 38kg, she decided it was time to invest in her kids’ health.
Her eight-year-old son Mitchell said he loved the feeling after doing a high-intensity training session.
“I feel very exhausted and good, and really cold because of all the sweat,” he said. “But I feel so much better in myself.”
His brother Jack agreed: “I like that you can get fit and have fun at the same time. I have met new people and I enjoy doing it alongside my brother and my friends Sam and Zac.”
Mrs Marchment said children could be skinny but that did not necessarily mean they were healthy.
Local dietician and nutritionist Peter Clarke agreed fighting obesity was a family affair. Mr Clarke said many parents were unknowingly leading their children into a life of future disease and discomfort.
“We need to get children out of the cupboard and into the backyard,” he said. “Kids will model their eating behaviour on what mum and dad do.” Children who spend more than two hours a day in front of a small screen, statistically have a much higher chance of becoming obese, he said. Fortunately, simple options like swapping soft drink for water and going for a bike ride instead of sitting in front of the TV, could dramatically improve your child’s health.
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