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Childhood Obesity

Approximately 61.3% of adults and 30% of children (1) in England are overweight…that’s the majority of us folks!

As an overweight & obese nation the UK’s associated health problems are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.3-4.2 (2) billion a year…£4.2 BILLION A YEAR!

There is no secret that the majority of our obesity problem are coming from OVER CONSUMPTION of refined carbohydrates (beige food) and NOT MOVING enough, which means THERE ARE EASY SOLUTIONS but NO QUICK FIXES to this health crisis.

WHAT TO DO

We all need education to raise AWARENESS and a positive promotion of health to engage a willingness to change from the powers that be right through to us, as parents.

While we know we need medication for certain conditions & if you cut off your leg no amount of broccoli will help, the government need to acknowledge that to throw money at trying to fix obesity health issues that are already broken is an ineffective strategy.

It would seem therefore that we need to redirect investing money and resources into education and an upstream health care system that teaches healthy lifestyle, nutrition & exercise as a prophylactic first line of defence.

When we focus our attention more on the research which highlight the benefits of healthy nutrition, lifestyle, stress management and exercise we see read some compelling positive health outcomes: (3) meta-analysis shows that adherence to a Mediterranean diet can significantly decrease the risk of overall mortality.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally Davies has added antibiotic resistance to the national risk register coupled with reports from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) “a 1998 report found that prescription drugs kill about 106,000 Americans each year – that’s three times as many as are killed by automobiles – making prescription drug death the fourth leading killer after heart disease, cancer and stroke.”

It seems there are some powerful arguments to explore other simple avenues for health further and thrust lifestyle modalities as primary care options to work in conjunction with Doctors & other healthcare providers.

“Depression isn’t a Prozac deficiency and type 2 diabetes isn’t a lack of Metformin in the diet”

The bigger picture: The governments basic nutrition message is out-dated with an inaccurate food pyramid cascading misinformation, fear and confusion about food. With such compelling evidence (4) it may be wise to re-visit healthy cooking & nutrition based on the updated Mediterranean food pyramid (attached) which could be introduced into the school curriculum & school menus!

Kids learning to cook healthy foods would cause a quiet little health revolution and is one of life’s key skills we all need (alongside paying bills and taxes.)

Parent power: problems get fixed at home and if we all try to lead from example by sitting down to eat together as families like our Mediterranean cousins, we can teach our kids small simple steps to healthy eating:

• Adding more fresh vegetables fruit and lean protein
• Reducing refined carbohydrates, sugar and fizzy drinks
• Un-demonising fat by eating oily fish a couple of times per week and cooking with good fats such as coconut oil
• Eating mindfully and socially rather than zoned out in front of the TV
• And Increasing family physical activity which can be a fun and cheap way to fix obesity: family walks, bike rides, sports and active holidays.

Let’s get to the final but essential component of health – Physical activity
- This should be promoted at every opportunity!

If we tell kids that all they need to do is 1 hr a week PT at school, are we not just sending them a message that physical health is not a priority?

Inactive kids generally become inactive adults!

(7) “Important implications for public health policy. Schools could be an important setting for programs to influence the development of healthful behaviours at an early age. In addition to interventions that provide education for children, the study suggests that for behaviour change to occur and persist, interventions must create and maintain school environments that support healthful behaviour. To sustain the benefits of elementary school programs, health promotion should probably continue through junior and senior high school. Additional research is required to assess the valid impact of such programs as well as how programs can be more widely implemented”

Maybe 4.2 Billion a year could be spent on healthy food, sneakers and cooking lessons for every kid!

So here we are as naive as it sounds: eat better, move more and stress less and we may end up less obese, HAPPIER & on less medication!

(1)http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7151813.stm
(2)http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7151813.stm
(3) Mitrou PN, et al. Mediterranean dietary pattern and prediction of all-cause mortality in a U.S. population. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2007;167:2461.
(4) Sofi F, et al. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: Meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008;337:a1344.
(7) Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(7):695-704. doi:10.1001/archpedi.153.7.695. Three-Year Maintenance of Improved Diet and Physical Activity

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_Gideon has 20 years experience as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach and educator, focused upon engaging patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. Gideon is also currently training as a naturopathic nutritionist, is a frequent writer for Men’s Fitness magazine and the resident trainer of UK TV show Britain’s Next Top Model.__
• Manages KX Fitness Team
• Personal Trainer
• Strength and Conditioning Coach
• Functional Medicine Consultant
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