Tackling childhood obesity

Tackling childhood obesity

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

childhood obesityIf like me, you’re interested in nutrition and wellbeing you have probably seen that the childhood obesity plan has finally been published. But like me you may be disappointed by its content.

 

 

Lets look at the positives

  • The introduction of a soft drinks industry levy (sugar tax), to come into force in 2 years time
  • nom nomsA 5% reduction of sugar in products popular with children over the next year. The eventual target is a voluntary 20% sugar cut over the next four years.
  • Those popular products are breakfast cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, pastries, puddings, ice cream and sweet spreads
  • Primary schools to provide at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and support families to do the same amount at home.
  • More funds for school sport – from the sugar tax
  • Targets for sugar content per 100g of product; no specific amounts given

 

And what’s missing?

  • IMG_2710No restrictions on junk food marketing and advertising during popular family TV programmes
  • No Ban on price-cutting promotions of junk food in supermarkets,
  • No compulsory ‘front of pack’ traffic light labelling system

 

You might well be wondering what all the fuss is about and why you should be concerned about your child’s weight?

I think this extract from the strategy says it all………

Today nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Reducing obesity levels will save lives as obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely. Obese adults are seven times more likely to become a type 2 diabetic than adults of a healthy weight, which may cause blindness or limb amputation. And not only are obese people more likely to get physical health conditions like heart disease, they are also more likely to be living with conditions like depression

 

If you are concerned about your child’s weight or you would like them to eat a wider variety of foods, then why not book in for a nutrition consultation with me.  I also offer cookery classes.  07946 301338

So over to you

Will this strategy make you think about sugar and junk food?

Will you be reading labels and vetoing certain foods for your children?

Will you be getting them to play more and sit less?

Will you be buying fewer *sugary drinks?

 

*If you are confused about the amount of sugar in food and drinks this simple calculation may help

label1

Divide the amount of sugar in grams by 4 to get the number teaspoons. In this example, each cake bar contains 12.9 g or more than 3 teaspoons of sugar (12.9 / 4).  To put that in to context, children should be eating no more than 5-7 (added) teaspoons of sugar a day

Chubby or Obese?

Is your child a healthy weight?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

For almost a year we have been told by the Government that its Childhood Obesity Strategy will be published shortly, but we are still waiting.  It is hoped to cover issues such obese childas a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising, a sugar tax, a ban on junk food at supermarket checkouts and reduced sugar and salt levels in manufactured products; to name but a few

When should you be concerned about your child’s weight?

When the School  sends them home with an NHS letter saying their weight is a potential issue; part of the National Child Measurement Programme?

When your GP recommends they attend child weight loss classes?

childhood obesityWhen your child complains of being bullied or not being picked for team activities?

Or maybe none of the above because you child is just chubby, its puppy fat, you don’t want to pressure them or its nothing to worry about.  But what if it is something to worry about. Recent statistics show that more than a third of UK children (from the ages of 2 – 15) are overweight or obese and it increases with age.

Tackling this potentially issue early might be the key. 

5 simple things you can do

1.  Consider finding out if your child is in a healthy weight range.

2.  Try and prepare simple meals that are eaten at the table with the whole family, such as

  • IMG_6847wholemeal pasta bake (with lots of blitzed up veggies in the sauce) and a crunchy cheese and breadcrumb topping.  Served with a colourful salad
  • Quorn sausages with mashed potato and carrots, served with peas and veggie gravy
  • Wraps filled with crunchy lettuce and tomatoes and roasted chicken or left over Spag bol mince.
  • Tinned sardines (in tomato sauce) on wholemeal bagels or muffins, or stuffed in to a pitta bread with salad and sweetcornIMG_6782
  • Sweet potato wedges with baked beans and grated cheese
  • Homemade pizza with lots of veggies and cheese.  served with a colourful salad
  • courgette spiraliseCut vegetables into interesting shapes – a spiraliser or vegetable peeler is great for doing the job

 

 

 

3.   Make sure your child is eating the correct portion size for their age

kids portion size

http://www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/portion-sizes-table-2015

4.  Go to the supermarket with a shopping list and when you have all eaten; you are less likely to impulse buy and be persuaded by offers or sugary fatty foods

5.  11873788_10153625340999015_4728823108939216858_nSpend more time outdoors as a family; not only will it increase your vitamin D levels, which is needed for healthy bones, boosting your immune system and to keep your brain in good health, but it helps will fitness and calorie burning

 

 

 

 

child activity levels jpeg

 

 

This shows the amount of activity that a child should be doing

 

Here’s a list of some local activities taking place in the Nottingham area

over the summer holidays

 

July 31st West Bridgford Family fun day – West Bridgford Park 13738353_10204908103702460_3688449296979538302_o-696x456http://westbridgfordwire.com/july-31-west-bridgford-family-fun-day/

 

1st August between 1- 4pm  – Eastwood Road, Kimberley.  Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities such as Sumo suits, frisbee, face painting, henna tattoos, giant outdoor games (Jenga and Connect 4), Tug of War, circus skills and many other old school park games.

2nd August between 1-4pm – Play dates at William Lee Memorial Park, Calverton.  Lots of imaginative fun for parents and kid

lark web image3rd August – Lark in the Park http://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/larkinthepark/

4th August between 1- 4pm  – Coronation Park, Eastwood. Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities

4, 7, 12, 15 and 20 August – In to the forest, Forest Recreation Ground

Meet at the pavilion at 11am on any of the above dates and enjoy a host of free activities from scavenger hunting to tree safaris.

 

5th – 7th August-  Nottingham Riverside Festival weekend images-5http://westbridgfordwire.com/need-know-nottingham-riverside-festival-2016/

5th August 5 – Highfields Park play area.  Orienteering challenge

 

 

f71870a09e0d970aa4ceedddf8500c72939247b1_1845th August – Mad Hatters tea party – 2-5pm at maid Marion Way, Nottingham

From 6th August – Free Summer Events at Skylarks Nature Reserve  http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/nature-reserves/skylarks/

8th August between 2-6pm – Parkfest Litchfield Park, Hucknall.  Ideal for kids aged 10-19, choose from water ball, rodeo bull, inflatables, coconut shy, henna art, tag rugby, rounders, football, skateboarding, limbo dance, BBQ and lots more.

11th August, between 1-4pm  – Hickings Lane, Stapleford.  Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities

12th August  – Wollaton Park courtyard.   Orienteering challenge

12th August, from 11am – Clifton Playing Fields.  Picnic in the park

13th August between 1- 4pm  – Arnot Hill Park, Arnold.  Enjoy free fun with a wide range of activities

19th August  – Cowlick Woods play area.  Orienteering challenge

20th – 21st August –  Nottingham Caribbean Carnival weekend, Nottingham Embankment. 12noon to 8pm on both days

26th – 29th  August: Summer Nights Film Festival at Wollaton Park.  Watch outdoor film screenings of Mad Max: Fury Road, Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves, The Dark Knight Rises, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

 

If you know of any other summertime activities then please let me know

children’s portion size

Are you concerned about how much your toddler eats, do you know what a correct portion size looks like?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

During National Childhood Obesity Week I’m writing a couple of articles about looking after your child’s health.  What and how much you feed them is key; many toddlers are being overfed by parents who give adult portion sizes BBC News

obese childAs many as a fifth of all 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese. Children who are a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn and are more self-confident. They are also less likely to have low self esteem or be bullied. And crucially they are much less likely to have health problems in later life.

For advice and guidance visit the Infant and toddler website; it has an interactive table showing portion sizes for all the food groups

kids portion size

 

http://www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/portion-sizes-table-2015

If you have any advice about children’s portion sizes, then please feel free to share it here

Below is a poster from the British Nutrition Foundation website that clearly states what a child’s food intake should be.  This may help you to give your child a balanced healthy diet

Toddler portion sizes

Some simple tips

  • Start with smaller meals and see if your child asks for more
  • Don’t pressure a child to clear their plate
  • Use smaller plates
  • Try and sit at a table and have more family meals
  • Don’t rush meal times

mini meals

 

 

This is a great document that has 303 fun first foods to try when weaning and beyond; with helpful portions sizes  http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/303-Fun%20First%20Foods.pdf

 

Caffeine and kids

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

energy drinksDo you know how much caffeine your children are consuming, do you think its something you should be checking or do you not know what all the fuss is about?

It’s recently hit the headlines that teenagers are consuming large amounts of energy drinks to get them through their exams. The NASUWT, the teachers union is calling for the Government  to commission independent research into energy drink use and the long-term effects on health.

 

news2

news 1

 

In adults excess caffeine can lead to a caffeine habit and dependency, but experts are not sure what it will do to children in the long term.  But they worry that it may affect their behaviour.

 

During a normal day your child may consume more caffeine than you think

a can of 500ml energy drink 160g

a can of cola has around 40mg of caffeine

a cup of tea  – upto 80mg

a cup of instant coffee has around 100mg,

a mug of filter coffee has around 140mg

small bar of milk chocolate – 25mg

painkillers and cold and flu medications generally contain between 50 and 120mg

The guidelines for adult daily consumption of caffeine is clear

  • Pregnant women – 200mg
  • Everyone else – 400mg

But it is less clear for children.  When researching this article I found guidelines that said 100mg is a safe limit and another that 3mg per kilo of body weight is.  Therefore a 50kg child should consume a maximum of 150mg.  Based on either of those guidelines if your child has one energy drink they could be exceeding that safe limit

logo-gem-106

 

This week I was contacted by Gem106, radio to talk about this issue.  Here are two very brief news clips (20 seconds each)

 

“So what”, you might be thinking.  Well, an excess of caffeine in children could lead to

  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • palpitations
  • energy ‘crash’
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased bone loss – especially worrying for teenage girls
  • poor sleep

Many of the energy drinks come in 500ml cans, so a child is consuming large amounts of caffeine in one go.  They are often high in sugar also.  Monster contains nearly 14 teaspoons of sugar.  This high level may condition a child to crave sweet things, and could lead to an increase in weight

At a time when many children need to be at the top of their game, caffeine can sabotage all their hard work.  In small amounts caffeine can enhance mood and brain function, but so can natural foods

Whats the alternative?

first of all stay hydrated – water and milk are healthy options, weak green tea can also boost concentration

snack on nuts, dried fruits and seeds – they contain a mix of serotonin (mood IMG_2578enhancer), antioxidants (boosting the immune system), dopamine (a brain chemical involved in increasing motivation and concentration), zinc (to boost brain function) and omega 3 fatty acids (help the brains ability to think and process). Muesli is a great option as it also contains oats, which are great for heart health and delivering energy slowly (so no ‘crashes’)

yoghurt and fresh fruit  – the vitamin C helps to improve mental agility, high in fibre (helps to sustain a regular level of energy) ripe bananas also contain dopamine

peanut butter and rice cakes – contain B vitamins (good for memory and concentration) and fibre

IMG_6060veggie sticks with hummus  – packed with antioxidants, protein and fibre

Eggs  and avocado on wholemeal toast – full of good fats, antioxidants, protein,vitamins, especially vitamin E

 

The Foods Standards Agency confirms that drinks that contain caffeine from whatever source at a level over 150mg per litre (mg/l) must state: ‘High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women’. Supermarkets including Asda and Tesco  state they do not sell energy drinks to youngsters and ask for proof of age.

So do you think its about time national guidelines on recommended consumption levels of caffeine for children are introduced?

 

Childhood obesity

Obesity and children – should we be concerned?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

 

As a nutrition coach I have noticed that sugar smart 4more of my clients are concerned about the weight issues affecting their whole family, including the children.  It seems that some parents are really worried and don’t know what to do.

 

The first ever UK awareness week focusing on child obesity issues takes place this week, 4-10 July 2016.  National Childhood Obesity Week

The issue of obese children has also come to the attention of Notts TV.  They came to interview me last year.  Here’s a short clip of the interview that was later aired on ‘The 6.30 show’

 

So why do we have this potential epidemic? 

I don’t believe there is one simple issue or factor, I think it is a combination of the following (and probably more):

IMG_5653

 

  • Lack of knowledge and education about healthy eating.
  • The availability of food (on the way to school, at school, after school, at the weekend, in the cinema etc),
  • Too much sugary and processed food
  • Lack of exercise and activity
  • Overweight parent(s)

 

 

If you have concerns about your child’s weight what should you do?

  • First get their BMI etc confirmed by your GP or from the National Childs Measurement Programme data
  • Get support from the GP or a support group
  • images5Look at portion control
  • Encourage your child, tell them they are great, boost their confidence
  • Don’t make it all about weight loss
  • Find fun family things to do that encourage activity (and burns calories)
  • Get cooking together, include more veggies and fruit
  • Make sure they are well hydrated as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.  Water or milk is the preferred drink
  • susan posterGet some cookery advice – as a trained chef I can help you gain back your cooking confidence with my vegetarian and vegan cookery classes.  These take place during the day (although early evening sessions could be a possibility)
  • Exercise can be as important as diet.  To lose weight effectively and to maintain a healthy weight it is always best to both eat sensibly and to exercise regularly.

 

Phone to book your place 07946 301338

  • The Governments recommends  that children and young people aged 5-18 need to do:
    • At least 60 minutes  of physical activity every day, such as cycling and playground activities and fast running and tennis.
    • On three days a week, these activities should involve muscle and bone strengthening activities like push-ups, skipping or running.
  • Get some healthy eating advice; that could be from the school, the GP or a nutrition coach like me. I have recently been talking about this very subject on Notts TV so please Contact me on 07946 301338 for a free consultation.

 In the end we all have a responsibility

  • Children need to learn about the relationship between ‘food in and calories out’ as soon as they go to school – through education at school, after schools clubs and in the home
  • IMG_0848Parents need to set a good example, eat together around a table, prepare home cooked meals and practice portion control
  • Restaurants and food outlets need to offer healthy unprocessed children’s meals that are the right portion size for their smaller appetites
  • Supermarkets and manufacturers need to take their responsibility seriously and reduce the amount of sugar, salt and chemicals etc in food.  And offer appropriate portions
  • IMG_2408Restaurants, supermarkets and food outlets could display their nutritional and calorie data on the produce so customers can make informed choices wherever food is available.
  • Government bodies need to continue getting the message out there about calories, portion control, high sugar, physical activities etc
  • GPs need to be proactive and ask to see children of overweight parents, because there is an increased likelihood is that the child is also overweight.  Statistics show that overweight children more often than not become overweight adults.  They are then at a higher risk of developing diabetes, cardio vascular disease and some cancers
  • IMG_1326Healthy eating needs to be widely promoted in supermarkets, rather than the high sugar high, fat foods that we often see in prominence

If you are unsure where to start to make a healthy change for your family, have a look at some of my previous blog posts where you will find guidance, advice and healthy eating recipes

 

The Sugar tax

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

 

IMG_5653In this weeks Budget the Government announced plans for the much talked about sugar tax, which comes into force in two years time. Raising around £500 million revenue that will go towards investment in school sports.

 

So are you for or against a tax on sugary drinks and what do you think it will achieve?

 

We all know there is an obesity epidemic, and that being overweight or obese increases a persons risk of getting some serious long term conditions lie type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some forms of cancer. But I believe one of the main reasons for a sugar tax is to try and reduce the number of obese children. And here’s why

 

  • 1 in 5 children is overweight or obese by the age of 5
  • For 5-9 year olds the biggest single reason for hospital admissions is tooth decay
  • The average five-year-old consumes the equivalent of their own body weight in sugar in the course of a year
  • Being overweight or obese in childhood can have an impact on both short and long term physical and mental health.
  • Children who are overweight and obese are more likely to become obese adults
  • Severe obesity in children has also been associated with absenteeism and poorer school performance

 

Recommended daily maximum added sugar for children

 

 

On average children are consumiing 3 times that amount, mostly from sugary drinks

Here are some typical drinks that children might have

 

sugary drinks table

Watch the size of the bottles, dome are 250ml, 330, 500 or even 750ml – they should all have average serving size information

 

11873788_10153625340999015_4728823108939216858_nChildren who are a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn and are more self-confident. They are also less likely to have low self esteem or be bullied. And crucially they are much less likely to have health problems in later life.

 

imagesTo help children understand the sugar content in their favourite drinks (and snacks) Change4Life have recently launched the Sugar smart App

Recently I visited Carnarvon Primary School, in Bingham, Notts and gave a talk about sugar.  The children were really engaging and loved the gruesome images of tooth decay.  But I know the message about too much sugar and unhealthy eating really hit home

 Could the Sugar tax be seen as an opportunity

for manufacturers reformulate drinks so

they are not as sweet?

 

What to give children to drink

 

  • Water is the obvious choice – its cheap and readily available and contains zero sugar!
  • Milk is full of bone building calcium and is a great thirst quencher. Non dairy milk alternatives are widely available
  • Fruit juices or ‘healthier’ drinks are often laced with sugar, so please read the labels