There have been some worrying stories coming out of the press and the media here in the UK recently concerning the trend in children and teenagers, both boys and girls, towards growing levels of obesity.
It has been known for some time that children in the UK (as they are everywhere in the developed world probably) are becoming less and less physically active. Coupled with a poor diet, this is leading to a greater and greater proportion of young people becoming overweight, with the consequences of increased risk of various health problems, both immediate and longer-term. Diabetes, bowel cancer and heart disease are the main ramifications.
It’s currently reckoned that one 1 in 3 children in UK is overweight, or what is called ‘clinically obese’, and unless something is done about it, that could be 1 in 2 by 2010. Some health professionals are actually calling this an ‘obesity epidemic’.
We made an explicit reference to this problem and what parents might be able to do about it when we launched this site, in one of our static pages, which you can find here if you would like to read it.
The latest press story which has come out recently which illustrates this increasing problem and which actually sent a shiver down my spine was the news that outsize school uniforms were now being made available as ‘off the peg’ items of clothing for children.
The headlines sum up the story:
High street retailer Bhs is expanding its school uniform sizes due to the rising obesity of UK children (Sky News)
Shops sell size 18 school uniforms as child obesity soars (Daily Mail Online)
Obesity epidemic feeds demands for 52-inch school uniform (National Obesity Forum – www.nationalobesityforum.org.uk)
Basically, it seems that one of the largest retailers of school uniforms in the UK is now making school blazers up to 52 inch chest size, trousers with 42 inch waists and size 17 and a half shirts. Not to special order, but just as a part of its normal range. Obviously, a commercial firm would not be doing this if there was not the demand for these sizes, and so this is very worrying.
These outsize garments are not just being produced for boys either, girl’s blouses are also being offered at up to 48 inch bust size. It’s all part of the evidence stacking up that boys and girls are getting bigger and reflects the way that our youngster’s health is deteriorating.
Quite plainly, there is not going to be any easy or quick solution to this problem for our nation as a whole without probably some heavy-duty gvernment intervention and major changes at the societal level , but as individual parents there is a responsibility on us to do all we can to make sure our children have the right diet and take proper exercise, and we can take steps to make sure that happens, hard as that might be, since you’ll be fighting against all the temptations and habits that kids have today that are making them so overweight.
I’m no child psychologist – (please, if you are a child psychologist and reading this, feel free to provide a Comment on this piece) – but it seems to me that a good weapon to have in your armoury as you set out to win this battle with your kids would be to come up with some form of exercise that children could actually enjoy doing.
Our experience of kids and the Triton Ultimate Three Wheel Cruiser recumbent bicycle is that they always get off these bikes with a smile on their face. And we have some evidence to show that riding a Triton single speed bike the same distance as jogging gets the kids’ heart rate into the same exercise zone as jogging. But while kids think of jogging as dull and boring and wouldn’t be tempted out by the prospect of a run get a few kids together in the park on their Tritons and they will ride one of three wheel bikes forever!
So maybe a Triton trike could be part of the solution at the individual level. What do you think?
, Triton for Kids