How Can we Reduce the Child Obesity Rate Through Diet and Exercise?



Childhood obesity is a major problem around the globe, particularly in developed countries. This condition can translate into numerous medical problems both in the short-term and the long-term. Typically, obese and overweight children are more likely to have high blood pressure and even high cholesterol. This predisposes them to heart and circulatory diseases. They are also likely to develop diabetes, GERD, breathing problems and musculoskeletal disorders. Also, obese children face significant social and psychological issues such as discrimination and low self-esteem.



Prevent Obesity in Children

Fortunately, childhood obesity can be managed and prevented. In general, obesity develops when the energy intake in a child is much higher than the total expenditure. Therefore, if the food intake is lowered and exercise increased, the weight problems can be controlled. In simple terms, diet and exercise are the most crucial elements for dealing with obesity.

Simple Rules to Follow:

Here are some simple but practical methods that parents, teachers, and other caregivers can utilize to reduce the childhood obesity rate:

Control Access to Sugars and Fats

Consumption of foods which are high in calories contributes to the development of obesity in children. Simply speaking, if a child takes a snack with a high-calorie value, they will not be able to get rid of the extra energy through exercise because the total amount of calories is too high. Therefore, parents and teachers should limit the children’s access to junk food. Junk food refers to edible products which are high in calories but have minimal nutritional value. You should be particularly cautious of food items which are high in fats and sugars. These substances are stored in the body and contribute to weight problems and other medical issues.


boy eating

Promote Better Eating Habits

Children should have access to healthy foods for proper development.  School lunches can be instrumental in making sure that healthy meals are available for all children.  Ideally, kids should be provided foods that have high nutritional value and low calories.  Vegetables and fruits should always be available as part of main meals and snacks. Dairy products are also healthy, but focus choices on low-fat alternatives. Carbohydrates should be whole grains and proteins should comprise primarily of fish, poultry, lean meat and plant proteins. Additionally, school lunches should control portions that children eat.


Make Healthy Meals More Attractive

One of the main challenges posed by healthy diets for children is the lack of appeal.  “Ugly lunches” can make the battle against obesity tough because food is the core factor in dealing with weight. Therefore, parents and school lunch providers should experiment with different healthy recipes to make meals more attractive. For the best results, ask the children for their opinions so that you can develop meals that they will eat and enjoy. You should also consider modifying some of their favorite unhealthy meals. For example, make pizza with healthy vegetables. You can also change your cooking methods: for example, fried foods can be baked or grilled.

Help Your Children Stay Active

girl playing ball


Children should be involved in physical activity of moderate intensity for at least one hour per day. This will allow them to increase the energy expenditure in the body and promote weight loss and stability. If your children are not willing to attempt traditional exercises like running or cycling, they can have fun with activities such as dancing, swimming and playing sports. Physical education in schools is an excellent way to get kids to move around.


Explain the Benefits of Exercise

Parents and teachers should also educate children on the potential benefits of remaining physically active. Knowing the benefits of exercise can help kids be more personally motivated to keep up an exercise routine. For example, they should be aware of the impact of exercise on weight management, the health benefits and even the increased self-esteem that comes with being healthy.

A great way for both teachers and parents to stay informed is to research on the internet.  There is a world of blogs and websites that give helpful advise on keeping kids healthy.  Kelly Smith has a blog that has a number of excellent nutritional and exercise tips.  I am sure you will find it very informational.

Physical Fitness Guidelines in Public Schools for the 21st Century


boy on swingIntroduction

The western world began introducing Physical Education into the curriculum of many schools in the early 19th Century.  PE undertook a lot of changes and by the start of 20th century, elements such as hygiene, bodily health and exercise had been incorporated. The guidelines regulating physical education have changed as well.

Below are some Physical Fitness Guidelines in Public Schools today:

1.  Students should be conversant with strategies, movement concepts, and principles that apply to performance and learning of physical activities

This guideline is concerned with two concepts; Body Management and Locomotor Movement.

In body management, students need to undertake lessons and exercises to help them in identifying and describing body parts: head, hands, shoulders, and toes among others. Locomotor movement requires students participation in activities to show their skills of walking, jogging, running, jumping and so on.

2.  Assess extent of physical fitness to boost health and performance

This guideline touches on Fitness concept, Aerobic Capacity, Flexibility, Body Composition and Endurance and Muscular Strength.

Fitness concepts require students to participate in a variety of physical activities considered to be challenging yet enjoyable such as running, tug-of-war and press-ups while aerobic capacity exercises boost heart rate and breathing in some vigorous physical activities for at least three days every week. In endurance and muscular strength, students need to undergo exercises as hanging from overhead ropes and bars for longer periods of time and climbing a ladder or any other steep surfaces. Flexibility concept encourages students to take part in activities such as stretching involving legs, arms, shoulders, and back without bouncing while body composition is measured by the students’ ability to endure continuous movements for an extended period while doing vigorous to moderate physical activity.

kids playing
3.  Students should show movement and motor skills required to do a range of physical activities

This guideline involves such concepts as Body Management, Movement Concepts, and Manipulative Skills.
Movement concepts require students to do an array of exercises. First, they should travel in larger groups, without falling or bumping into each other to demonstrate locomotor skills. Second, they should move forward and sideways, rapidly changing the direction whenever a signal is conveyed. Third, they should show the similarity between fast and slow speeds while using locomotor skills. Eventually, they need to attempt making shapes at varying height levels i.e. high, medium, and low by using arms, hands, torso, legs, and feet in a different of combinations.In body management, students need to demonstrate motor skills by making shapes using locomotor movements. They are also required to indicate the relationship of directional cues such as over, under, behind, through, next to, right, left, in front of, forward, down, backward, and up by using an object and the body object. Manipulative skills are tested by requiring students to participate in directional cues such as over, under, behind, through, next to, right, left, in front of, forward, down, backward, and up by using an object and the body object as striking a light stationary object.

4. Students show knowledge of sociological and psychological principles and strategies that can be applied to the learning and performing physical activity

This guideline entails self-responsibility, social interaction and group dynamics. Self-responsibility requires students to visualize and analyze the eventual feelings that result from participating in physical activity.  In social interaction, students must have the capability to share in a physical activity and discuss the reasons why positive social interaction makes the physical activity with other groups more fun. In group dynamics, students should be able to play the role of a leader and a follower in different combinations during physical activities.