OUR VIEW: Addressing weight in childhood worth the effort

One-third of children and two-thirds of adults in Canada are overweight.

It’s a statistic that has serious implications for our country’s collective health and happiness. September is kind of like January, in that it’s a time when a lot of people are ready for a fresh start.

With students heading back to school it’s a time when many families are getting into a new routine. What better opportunity to consider your family’s health in that routine?

If you need a bit of help, perhaps consider looking into joining the new pilot Family Health Living Program being spearheaded by the Childhood Obesity Foundation in Campbell River starting this month. (See story on page 46) The program is for children eight to 12 years old with weight issues, but importantly, it addresses the whole family. After all, children who are overweight or obese do not buy or usually prepare their own food. Often their eating schedule isn’t even their choice. Just telling kids to move more and eat better is an exercise in futility. And expecting one member of a family to change (especially if that person is a child) without changes happening in the home as a whole is likely to prove unsuccessful.

Addressing poor nutritional habits and sedentary behaviour in childhood is key. To date in Canada we’re not doing a good enough job on this front. Children who are overweight or obese will likely struggle with these issues their whole lives. Increasingly, Canadians are in danger of spending their entire lives overweight or obese. It’s a sad fact that far too many Canadian children are beginning to suffer from conditions like type 2 diabetes normally associated with much older people.

A little work now can hopefully make the rest of their lives a lot easier.

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