DISCUSSION: HOW AT FAULT ARE PARENTS FOR OVERWEIGHT/OBESE CHILDREN
This is sure to cause a stir! Obesity is getting worse, Australia is getting fatter & the "be happy in your own skin movement is getting bigger"
Australia is now the fourth fattest country in the world, a study in 2012 found that 2/3 adults are overweight or obese, 63% to be exact! Adults, yep you know the same adults that often bash how useless our generation is, how lazy we are & the ones who raised us!
1 in 3 Australian children are obese, obesity is the second biggest burden of disease in Australia & by average, one Australian will be diagnosed with diabeties every 5 minutes.
Now the question arises, who's at fault? Is it the schools? The education department? Computers? Gaming? Or are the parents to blame?
Now I asked 10 people in who are around children or related some way to this issue, here are there answers:
"How at fault are parents for overweight/obese children"
Matthew - (Me, personal trainer, former swimming instructor & Dad)
I think parents have a massive role in child obesity, whether its food based (poor diet) or whether its not encouraging your child into physical activity or letting them play on the Playstation all day, parents aren't educating them selves enough on their child's health & wellbeing, they must set a good example for their children by living a healthy lifestyle themselves.
Anon - (Child Care Worker)
I don't really have an opinion either way! But every child and every situation is different I don't really know much information on it but when I do see really over weight kids with really over weight parents it does make me feel very sorry but the kid I guess doesn't have a choice because they don't understand so which the parent is sort of at fault But then again maccas is like $4.95 for a meal or whatever and then subway or something is like 10 bucks people don't really have the money for that!
Jake - (Primary School Teacher)
Seeing what some parents choose to put in their children's lunch boxes on a daily basis, parents are definitely a major factor in the why our kids are over weight. It's not the kids fault, it's the parents fault and that they themselves are just not educated about healthy foods. We have a brain food break in the morning where the kids can bring in a piece of fruit or vegetables to snack on and some kids bring 'fruit' roll ups and 'fruit' sticks. They aren't the ones who do the shopping and provide the food that they eat every day. If their main influence and role model is not making the right choices then they are the ones who are paying the price.
Eliza - (Personal Trainer)
I believe it’s the parents responsibility to educate their children in many ways. When parents don’t take control of their own life, they get tired, they get stressed & this produces a lack of effort when it comes to lunch & dinner time.
Parents are there to lead by example, when leading by example they need to teach their children how to look after themselves, whether its self love, what you put inside of your body & how you treat yourself. If parents aren’t teaching their kids that, kids are growing up with a lack of respect for their own bodies & zero education on how to be healthy.
What REALLY annoys me, is when parents know their kids are putting on weight & they don’t step up and do something about it, they don’t educate their child on ways they can work through this.
To ignore this, is not caring about them. You need to do something about it, look after their well being, encourage them to exercise, to make healthy choices on food, what’s in the food, LEARN ABOUT THE FOOD & EDUCATE YOURSELF!
Keep treats as treats & don’t make them a regular thing. Use restaurants as a cheat instead of the dirty meals like KFC & McDonalds, stop using them as a tool for when you cant be fucked cooking, encourage their treat to be a health-ish meal with a side of chips or an ice cream.
Kelly - (Mother of two)
As a parent you want to be able to give your child what they want and to make them happy, some kids get spoilt with mountains of toys and others get spoiled with never ending supplies of whatever food they want. Some parents only seem to believe the only way they can show love and affection towards their children is by buying them whatever their heart desires, which includes food, rather then actually spending quality time with their kids. Kids who have grown up on eating take away more often then home cooked meals are much more inclined to only being satisfied by eating fatty foods as they get older. Like many other things, its all about the enviroment that you are raised in, childhood obesity doesnt happen on its own.
Sarmad - (Pharmacy technician)
The problem is that parents don't know how to access information required to know what nutritional values should be met for their children. Parents need to know what kind of meals can be enjoyable and healthy for their kids. Sure children love their sweets and they shouldn't always be forced to eat broccoli, they deserve a cheat meal every now and again but moderation is key. They need to start enjoying healthy and rich meals at a young age. If a characteristic of poor eating habit is endowed on children during infancy, it's going to be a huge burden on them as they grow older. A healthy eating habit can't be passed onto children without a healthy lifestyle to go hand in hand with them. I associate Ipads, TV, laptops and constant video games with laziness and poor health. Those things are great, once again in moderation; but I would highly advise any parent to balance it all out with outdoor activities such as weekend sports. My main points in that are: Parents need access to information, AND Good food needs to be accompanied with a good lifestyle.
Vicki - (Mother of two)
It is easy to look at a child they may be overweight and automatically blame their parents. I think that generally it does have a lot to do with what they are being fed at home and lack of exercise, however there may be factors that you are unaware of that need to be taken into consideration.
Some children/young adults may have medical reasons for why they are unable to maintain a healthy weigh (thyroid as an example), or there may be some issues surrounding their parents, stress in the household, mental illness, disability etc.
It is a lot easier to ensure your children are eating correctly and active enough, when your children are young and dependent on you to provide their meals and snacks and arrange activities for them.
As they grow older and are more independent, as a parent you do lose some control on what they eat, it is imperative to teach them early about healthy eating and show them what can happen to their bodies if they don’t eat a balanced diet as an everyday norm. Of course you have to let them have treats every now and then otherwise they can be craving these “not so healthy” foods, and sneak them when out of the house.
It is also important, however not always as easy, to demonstrate this to them i.e. monkey see monkey do.
Over the years we have had issues with our own children, discussions as they get older about maintaining and losing weight. Have found that a third party, such as our doctor/ professional can have more impact on their thoughts and motivate them better than we can.
Jayden - (Two younger sisters)
like it's hard to say cause kids these days are a lot different than we were as kids and have a lot of control over a lot of parents considering a lot of new parents are young teens and very irresponsible who are probably eating takeout most nights a weeks but also like I think the food market doesn't help out the situation by putting favourite characters on absolute junk then when a child sees buzz light year on a packet of chips they sook and nag till they get it you know what I mean? Then to make the child happy they get it
Sarah - (Personal Trainer & Mum)
In this generation/ day and age we rely on technology, cars & fast food companies. It has become too convenient for parents to jump in the car and grab an easy meal on the road for the kids. An easy meal being fast food. Injecting not only a mindset of 'I'll grab something on the road rather then making something at home first', but also injecting bad nutrients into our children's bodies. Yes sure it's not always the parents fault and an older teenager may be making poor food choices when out with friends or going shopping. But in my opinion being not only a parent but a firm believer in producing amazing, nutritious foods for our bodies, parents need to be influencing from a young age, a healthy diet to there children in order to give them the best possible HEALTHY life they can live.
Kirsten - (Primary School Teacher)
A parent is fully responsible for a child’s diet and overall health (unless for other illness we can’t control etc). Parents are responsible for developing a healthy culture around food and their own dietary habits are passed down to their child. A child is simply that: a child. From an early age they learn from what their parents teach them as they are the first educators of their child. They control exactly what is put into a child’s lunch box at school as well as what they eat for each meal. From my experience with working with young children an overall healthy diet is pivotal not only to stop them from becoming obese, but diet also impacts greatly on their energy levels, concentration, physical ability and overall wellbeing. A child whose lunch box is packed full of unhealthy foods such as biscuits, chips, chocolate etc and lacks any fruit or vegetable are the ones who are constantly sick, tired, cannot focus or concentrate and do not enjoy participating in physical activity.
So there you have it, I asked 20 people their responses & only got these ones back. Now it's up to you to decide your opinion & act on it, what can we do to improve the next generation of Australians? What can you do to lower Australia's obesity crisis?