Step up parents – our kids are slobs

2014-07-10 16:37

It’s official. At least half of the children in South African are active for less than an hour a day.

Our kids eat too much junk food, they don’t exercise and they spend at least three hours a day glued to TV screens or playing video games.

And because of this, many are obese and overweight, the new Healthy Active Kids South Africa Report Card has revealed.

The report is compiled by Discovery Health Vitality together with a panel of academics and experts from six universities, the Medical Research Council of SA, the Sports Science Institute of SA and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of SA.

It scores children aged six to 18 on nine indicators that are related to healthy living.

Professor Vicki Lambert, a co-author of the report from the University of Cape Town, said: “What’s clear from the [report] is that it is time for parents to step up.

“Many parents in South Africa seem to be out of touch with their children’s dietary practices, including how pocket money is spent. In addition, there was remarkably low engagement with school sporting events as parents struggle with the competing priorities of work-life balance,” she added.

Key findings of the report include:

» South Africa’s grading has dropped from an overall C- in 2010 to a D in 2014;

» More than half of children do not have access to play equipment or recreational facilities;

» Less than 60% of South Africans are food secure;

» More than two-thirds of teenagers eat fast food at least three times a week; and as a nation, South Africans drink three times the global average of certain soft drinks;

» One in four parents don’t know what their children buy at school; and

» 27% of girls and 9% of boys aged 15 to 17 are overweight or obese.

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