Obesity is a huge challenge for SA’s big kids

25% of girls and 5% of boys in South Africa are obese or overweight, according to Health24. That statistic indicates a shocking trend, which places SA behind only the UK, Canada, the USA and Mexico.

Fortunately, all is not lost- Weigh-Less, Southern Africa’s leading health and weight management organisation, introduced a Teens and Tweens programme in 2011. The programme focuses on health, and, according to Mary Holroyd, founder and chairman of Weigh-less, is most definitely not a diet.

“Do not mistake our programme for a diet of any sorts, Weigh-Less does not advocate dieting. It is all about educating our children about the benefits of healthy eating and making healthier food choices so that they too can take charge of their health. The Teens and Tweens programme includes a variety of foods from each of the food groups to ensure optimal vitamin and mineral intake, and includes eight different formula’s that can be adjusted according to their ages, personality and lifestyle”, she says.

Kids are picking up weight by snacking on junk food and tuck shop treats bought both inside and outside of school. Over a third consumes junk food daily.

Despite what you’d think is wise, combating obesity starts with eating: Healthy food, including a variety of lunch box snacks is suggested. Fruits and salads feature heavily, as do low-fat foods such as low-fat health muffins and low-fat yoghurt.

The question is, however, how easy is it to persuade tweens and teens to switch eating habits? The average teen is unlikely to relish the idea of chomping down on a cucumber rather than a Gatsby, but, with encouragement and a systematic programme, it is possible to make healthy lifestyle changes.

For more information on the Weigh-Less Teens and Tweens programme visit www.weigh-less.co.za or call 0861 100 551.

- (Weigh-Less press release, Health24, May 2012)

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Do you think overweight tweens and teens will be able to choose healthy eating over junk food?

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