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Why childhood obesity should not be ignored

The epidemic has hit!

We can no longer stand by and let our nations’ children reach epidemic proportions of obesity. Ireland’s population has overweight and obesity levels in excess of the European average, according to a comprehensive global study of the problem. The research, details of which are published in the journal The Lancet, shows 26.5% of Irish girls and 16% of Irish boys under the age of 20 are classed as overweight or obese. These figures compare to a western European average of 24.2%. A massive 66% of Irish men over 20 are also considered overweight or obese, as are 50.9% of Irish women over 20 years: well in excess of the western European average of 47.6%. And because the level of obesity in teenagers and children is growing, a more recent study predicts that up to a staggering 89% of our population will be overweight or obese by 2030.

How is this being allowed to happen to our teens

Blind leading the blind: A UK study found that only 25pc of parents recognised that their child was overweight. It found that among overweight parents, 27pc of mothers and 61pc of fathers were unconcerned about their own weight. Sugar: According to Professor Donal O’Shea “Sugar is addictive in the same way alcohol is addictive, the same parts of the brain that light up with alcohol light up with sugary drinks” Lifestyle: With the advancement of technology it inevitably leads to greater “comforts” in the home which means we have to rely on our own ability less and less. Computer gaming destroys our kids for hours on end. Television shows and movies are made so accessible now. Smartphones, social media and so much time is spent looking at other peoples lives (real and fake)and not enough looking after our own. Stress: The level of stress experienced by people today is increasing all the time, trying to cope with the austerity that has plagued the country, finding comfort in cheap, fast food, fattening food that makes people feel good… least for a while. Stress releases hormones that are a major factor in fat storage. Book your free consultation with an expert coach at Ozone today

What does the future look like for our children

Shockingly, the obesity crisis is now affecting children as young as three and four years of age. The Growing Up In Ireland Study showed that almost 20pc of nine-year-olds were overweight in 2011 and a further 7pc obese. According to Grace O’Malley, senior physiotherapist at Temple Street Children’s Hospital, the health implications for children in the short term include hip, knee and back pain, breathlessness, higher risk of asthma, bullying and stigmatisation, as well as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. She says the long-term effects include poorer educational achievement, risk of heart disease and certain cancers as well as a risk of developing type 2 diabetes In a stark warning at the Irish Heart Foundation Conference, the country’s leading obesity expert Professor Donal O’Shea said that there’s been an absolute explosion in the extreme end of obesity, with a 1,200pc increase in those with a body mass index of 52 or over (18 to 25 is normal).

Time to Fix it…

The recommended physical activity for school aged children is at least 60 minutes per day. Is your child doing this amount of exercise?If they are not, why not. What are you doing to encourage more activity. 4 out of 5 children in Ireland are not getting the recommended level of exercise Acknowledgment of excess weight and an understanding of its health consequences are essential first steps in tackling obesity. Look at you, your family and other influential people in your teens life. Are they setting a good example for your teen. Are you?? Look out for informative and interactive seminars on best practices for adults and children on weight loss and maintenance. Expand your knowledge, reach out for help. Engage with expert coaches to deliver long term sustainable results in a supportive community environment that fosters motivation and learning. Book your Free consultation with an expert coach at Ozone today

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