Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity is on the rise in Australia. Since 1995 the rates of obesity in boys in particular, across all age groups has doubled with girls from ages 13-17 increased from 12% to 20%.

So, what is promoting the rise in childhood obesity?

There are a number of factors that have influenced this rise in childhood obesity. Some of these are:

  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Lack of active outdoor safe play which has been traded for home computers & video games
  • Due to hectic lifestyles, children are no longer required to sit at the table to eat meals; instead family meals may be consumed in front of the TV, prompting children to gulp their food and perhaps not realise when they are full.
  • Children coming home to an empty house, for the most part developing undisciplined snacking routines.
  • Families rushing home from work may elect the convenience of frozen foods for their young families.
  • Television ads enticing young minds to desire foods that lead to obesity.
  • The opportunity to ‘up size’ fast foods the ‘problem calorie trap’.

Childhood obesity is the most common health problem for small children and is not just reserved for Australia. This is a worldwide problem.

Although childhood obesity is widespread, it does not mean that a child who is obese will be readily accepted by his or her peers. An overweight child may be subjected to bullying, teasing, and taunts which can result in an obese child may suffering from low self-esteem and sometimes may even struggle with suicidal thoughts.

Dr Brooklyn Storme is a Psychologist who specialises in children and can assist with your child’s needs in regards to obesity and it’s emotional side effects like bullying. Dr Storme works at the Duff Street Wellness Centre and her appointments can be bulk billed – conditions apply.

What can you do?

If your child is overweight consider:

  • Looking at ways to increase their daily activity, i.e. encourage your child to participate in active sports
  • Limit computer/phone/ipad time
  • Begin eating meals at the dinner table without the distraction of television
  • Go for daily walks with your child, explore the neighbourhood
  • Read food labels carefully
  • When it comes to grocery shopping, plan carefully

If you do have concerns about your child’s eating habits don’t hesitate to consult with our GPs who will offer the support and advice you may need.