It is a
known fact that childhood obesity is becoming an increasing problem.
From a recent survey of 4,000 schoolchildren in the Arab Countries, aged
between 6 and 16, they found that 25% of these were overweight
behaviours to children at an early age has proved to be essential
as change becomes more difficult with age. Behaviours involving
physical activity and nutrition are the cornerstone of preventing
obesity in children and adolescents. Families and schools are
the two most critical links in providing the foundation of those
Along with the
rise in childhood obesity, there has been an increase in the incidence
and prevalence of medical conditions in children and adolescents
that had been rare in the past. Paediatricians and childhood obesity
researchers are reporting more frequent cases of obesity related
diseases such as high blood pressure, high blood fat, and irregularities
in insulin levels, as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular
disease and diabetes. If this epidemic goes unchecked, the burden
on public health spending will grow as children with obesity become
young people with diabetes, and the costly complications of their
condition develop. Early prevention is clearly our best option.
In the Arab Countries, the prevention of type 2 diabetes in young people
through the reduction of childhood obesity remains a major public
health challenge. The Ministry of Health has developed educational
programmes to raise awareness amongst healthcare providers about
the prevention and management of diabetes.
Prevention of Obesity
Create an active environment. Take time for the entire family
to participate in regular activities that everyone enjoys. In
the cooler months, bike riding or walking could be enjoyed or,
in warmer climates, ice skating or learning to play indoor squash.
Assign active household duties such as hoovering or car washing.
Rotate the duties to avoid boredom. Make it fun by turning it
into a game or a race to finish first!
Enrol your child into a class activity such as Martial Arts
or table tennis.
Encourage your child to participate in after school clubs such
as netball or football.
Limit the amount of television your child watches. Likewise
with gaming equipment such as Playstation or xBox Consoles.
Create a Healthy
Implement the same healthy diet for the whole family, not
just the selected individual.
Plan food menu’s together with your child and discuss
Eat meals together at the table and at regular times.
Avoid rushing meals. Eating too quickly does not allow
enough time to digest or to register a sense of feeling full.
Avoid other activities at mealtimes, such as watching television.
Avoid foods high in calories, fat or sugar.
Have snack foods available such as bite size fruits and
vegetables or yogurt.
Do not serve large meal portions.
Avoid using food as a reward or punishment.
Do not force your child to eat if they are not hungry.
Consult a Healthcare Professional if they are persistently