Obesity - health hazard for youth

2017-06-21 06:01
Make sure your child eats healthily and exercises regularly.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Make sure your child eats healthily and exercises regularly.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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RECENT reports state that the escalating obesity rate in South African youth is crippling their ability to live healthy lives and fully enjoy their youth.

The reports, complied by New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), also revealed that 1.6 million South African children are considered obese in addition to 10 million adults.

It is believed that this is due to the type of food they eat and no exercise.

Maritzburg Fever spoke to a local dietitian, Sharon Hultzer, who said obesity in youth and children is caused by the excessive or large portions eaten, the easy availability of junk food which provides excessive kilojoules as well as the lack of physical activity.

“Due to the amount of time spent on technological devices, such as the iPad and gaming, children lack physical activity. A combination of healthy eating with increased physical activity can help in avoiding being obese. It does not have to be necessarily gym. You can do anything, like dancing, walking the dog, playing sport and jumping on the trampoline before allowing any screen time,” said Hultzer.

She added that parents should try and avoid giving their children biscuits, cereal bars, fruit juice and flavoured milk.

“Placing packets of crisps or chocolates to keep the lunch box interesting is unnecessary and highly detrimental.

“Rather use a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, small servings of dried fruit and nuts, low-fat protein sources on sandwiches rather than jams.

Adding lean mince meatballs, chicken pieces and boiled eggs are also more filling.”

She said parents should get their children to eat healthily and exercise if they are overweight.

“This applies to anyone who feels they need to lose weight. It’s never too late, but the earlier we learn good habits the better and easier for our children to continue with healthy habits.

“Cut out the junk and convenience foods, spend more time planning and preparing meals at home and packing lunch boxes.

“Don’t rely on takeaways and tuck shops.”

Tips for staying healthy

• Exercise daily.

• Limit salt intake and salty food - such as salted crackers, crisps, Aromat - to help prevent high blood pressure. When weight increases, blood pressure usually follows.

• Eat a healthy breakfast every day (cooked oats porridge, egg on toast, fruit and plain
yoghurt with a little muesli, bran-rich cereal with low-fat milk.

• Watch portions of meals, especially the starch serving - rice. bread, potato, phuthu - and fats - limit oil, butter, margarine, chicken skin, fat on meat.

• Add vegetables to every lunch and supper and snack on fruit throughout the day.


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