Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Why is your child so FAT!?

Yes I said it. 
Why is your child so Fat!!??  
This has been something on my mind for a little while but it is a delicate subject to say the least. 
But, before you jump on me or attack me, I am not body shaming any gorgeous child. 
A child is beautiful no matter what size and shape and they are truly gifts and miracles.
My question is aimed at YOU, the parents. Why is your child over weight, obese and carrying excess fat?  Why did you allow that to happen?
And for the record, I do not include any child with a chronic illness where obesity is a side effect, I am talking about all the otherwise healthy children who are overweight in Britain.

Why am I even talking about this?

Firstly, here are the facts about Obesity so you can get an idea why I am even writing this article in the first place.

Bottom line is obesity can result in premature death. I have never looked at someone and felt the need to say anything about how they physically look because that is irrelevant to me. There is beauty in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes I do feel like asking if they are aware they are shortening there life span?

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of the association between mortality and BMI for adults BMI

Schematic illustration of the association between mortality and BMI for adults BMI

Around one in every 10 deaths in the UK is now linked to carrying excess fat - 50%  more than the rate in France. Experts also warned that the number of fatalities due to obesity may soon, for the first time, exceed those caused by smoking!!

Prof Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said that a “normalisation” of being overweight meant many people did not recognise that they weighed too much, and that the extra pounds could shorten their life. (

To me that's a big enough reason to watch what my child eats and teach him about healthy food options but some would say that is a scaremongering tactic so lets just scale it down now and talk about the smaller issues if EARLY  DEATH doesn't strike a chord with you.

Taken from the NHS wesbite.

Risks of Obesity include but are not limited to
  • type 2 diabetes 
  • coronary heart disease 
  • some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer
  • stroke
  • breathlessness
  • increased sweating
  • snoring
  • difficulty doing physical activity
  • feeling very tired a lot of the time
  • joint and back pain
  • low confidence and self-esteem
  • feeling isolated
Now let me ask you this, would you as a parent, or a future parent, want any of those to happen to your beloved child or children? Of course not! we love our children dearly! So why let them over eat and why let them eat saturated fats, why let them have excess sugar, why not teach them the importance of healthy food choices!?

Lets break it down a step further then.

Whats the problem with type 2 diabetes?

-Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems. It's the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age. 
-Diabetes is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation (other than accidents).
-People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to have cardiovascular disease (such as a stroke) than those without diabetes.
-Pregnant women with diabetes have an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. If your blood glucose level isn't carefully controlled during the early stages of pregnancy, there's also an increased risk of the baby developing a birth defect.

Again, I ask you..would you want your child or future child to suffer these symtoms? Most definitely not.
Not enough? We have talked alot about the physical, now lets talk about an emotional side - Depression and low self esteem.
What is depression?
The symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely between people. But as a general rule, if you are depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.The symptoms persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life.
Psychological symptoms include:

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem 
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others 
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried 
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • Physical symptoms include:
  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual 
  • change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased) 
  • constipation 
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy or lack of interest in sex (loss of libido)
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning)
  • Social symptoms include:
  • not doing well at work
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home and family life

So let's do a quick check again, would you want your child, children or future children to experience any of those things? No of course not! Never in a million years would any parent want their child to suffer with any kind of depression. 
So, whats my point?
Now we have covered just a small number of issues that can come with being obese and over weight...I would like you to read these stats that sent me into a rage and filled me with a genuine concern over the welfare of our British children

How many CHILDREN  are over weight and obese in the UK?

The latest figures, for 2013/14, show that
  • 19.1% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were obese
  • 14.4% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were overweight. 
  • 9.5% of children in Reception (aged 4-5)  were obese
  • 13.1%  of children in Reception (aged 4-5) were overweight
This means a THIRD of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese. To add to that a MASSIVE 30% of children are obese by the time they started secondary school (aged 11 and 12).

Something is seriously wrong with that and here is why. 

1. Obese/overweight  children tend to grow up to be obese/overweight adults2. They then lead on to have overweight and obese children3. They will then grow up to have overweight and obese children....see the trend here? Every heard of families saying that they are all just big boned ? and it is just the way they are, it runs in the family? No! It is more likely to be years and years of bad eating habits manifested through generations over time.

"The number of children who are obese is growing and has more than tripled in England over the past 25 years. Worldwide, over 42 million children under five were overweight in 2013. If the current trends continue, the number of overweight or obese children will increase to 70 million by 2025" (

These are the statistics on obesity in Adults in case you are wondering.

"There was a marked increase in the proportion of adults that were obese from 13.2 per cent in 1993 to 26.0 per cent in 2013 for men, and from 16.4 per cent to 23.8 per cent for women. The proportions that were overweight including obese increased from 57.6 per cent to 67.1 per cent in men and from 48.6 per cent to 57.2 per cent in women"

So let me ask you again, Why is your child so fat!???  They do not need to be, you as the parent feeds them, you cook for them, you do the shopping, YOU are teaching them their LIFE habits. It is time some parents take off their rose tinted glasses and took a good look at their kids. Unless they have some sort of illness that contributes to their weight or over eating, the problem is YOU!!

It makes me so sad when I see an over weight mother or father sitting in MacDonald or Burger King with their over weight children. I feel frustrated when I see overweight families buying frozen or ready made meals in the supermarket. And I just get down right furious when I see a child under 6 drinking a fizzy drink or sucking on a lollipop, eating sweets and chocolates.

What does that teach your darling children about their health? 
You are showing them that it doesn't matter and that they can eat what they like without any consequences.

Well, now you KNOW the consequences, no more excuses. No more rose tinted glasses. No more heads in the sand. The facts and the stats are here for all to see. It is time we start to really focus on teaching our children about their health before it is too late.

If you give your children fruit and veg from a young age, they will LOVE it! If you give them sweets and chocolate from a young age they will LOVE it too! What do you want your child to love best?

I am certainly no perfect mother but I certainly feel very proud when my son asks for desserts after dinner and I know he means a fruit salad! He is nearly 4 and he's never had chocolate (apart from when his naughty uncle gave it to him), he's never had sweets, he's never had a fizzy pop, hes not even had a pack of crisps apart from the baby versions with no added salt. I have been told I am depriving him of the "joy of childhood" by not indulging him with sugar/salty treats but I see it the another way.

I feel that by giving my son all those high sugar, fatty and salty foods, I would be in fact depriving him and robbing him of the best quality of life, which I am simply not prepared to do.
I want my son to live a life to his fullest potential and I will do everything in my power to make that happen..... and if that means taking the sweets out his party bags for as long as I can get away with it, then that is what I will do. I love that my son loves fruit ad veg smoothies and to him it is exactly the same as having a sugary fattening milkshake! He doesn't know the difference, no child would know the difference if you stopped giving them the latter!

I urge you reading this to take it to heart and make a change with your children if you haven't already. If you don't have children yet, I urge you to forward this to someone who does.
Knowledge is power.
Now that you know the facts and stats, YOU can do something about it.