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A family’s healthy new year’s resolution

by Mike Libbey

Most people wait till the beginning of January to focus on setting a new year’s resolution goal, usually of losing weight.

I have written numerous articles on weight loss over the last 30 years that I have been a dietitian. Unfortunately, the success rate of losing weight and keeping it off over the next two years is about two per cent. This includes techniques such as diets, exercise, surgical procedures, and pharmalogical methods.

Here’s the important fact about gaining weight: once you gain it your body now has a set mechanism of keeping it. A simpler resolution goal would be to maintain your weight and prevent adding to it. It would also be good to include our children in setting health goals for the new year.

Well here’s the thing, once you gain adipose tissue (fat) the body will fight to maintain it. Another interesting fact is when you make new fat cells, they are there for life. They can shrink but never go away and can easily go back in size once you start overeating. So, next time you want to overindulge in your favorite food you’ll be making new fat cells that will never disappear.

Let’s look on how being overweight affects children and young adults. If a child becomes overweight or obese, they now have a 75% chance of growing into an obese adult. And a 19-year-old adult who is obese has an 88% risk of being overweight the rest of their life.

Most recent studies have now indicated that if both parents are overweight then approximately 80% of their children will also have this weight challenge.

Compare this to parents that are lean; the prevalence of obesity drops to only 14%. Infants that are born to obese mothers tend to consume more calories resulting in excessive weight gain compared to mothers that are in a normal weight range. This is a very complex issue concerning childhood obesity but basically comes down to children are eating too many calories and lack adequate physical activity.

So, what can parents do to decrease the risk of their children becoming overweight? The main way is lead by example.

Parents can verbally stress to their children the importance of eating healthy and being physically active but when they themselves are inactive and eat unhealthy children usually copy these habits.

Children need guidance and structure that includes limitations on time spent with electronic devices and scheduled physical activity. It is recommended that they have 60 minutes or more per day of moderate physical activity. It would be an added bonus if the parent spends some of this time doing some sort of physical activity with them. Try to do something that is fun for all of you.

The benefits of physical activity for children include:

- fewer behaviour and disciplinary problems;

- better attention spans and performance in school;

- increased self confidence;

- increased strength, improving motor skills, flexibility and endurance;

- decreased morbidity/mortality from chronic diseases in adulthood; and

- enhanced emotional well-being.

So, this year let’s pay attention to our health and invest in the future health of our country.  

For more information about any of the free services offered by the Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team, visit www.mmfht.ca or call the Drayton/Palmerston office at 519-638-2110 or Clifford office at 519-327-4777.

Like the team on Facebook (Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team) and follow on Twitter (@MintoMapleton) for healthy living tips and information on upcoming programs and events in the area.

Mike Libbey is a registered dietician at Groves Memorial Community Hospital.

 

February 8, 2019

 
 

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