Are our children gaining weight during this pandemic? Isolation, weight gain and how to manage it.Article
08. 03. 2021
Every fourth child in the Czech Republic is currently overweight, and one in seven are obese. Doctors warn that the current pandemic situation and being isolated at home is a cause for concern that the situation will only get worse. Children have little exercise, are bored, spend most of their time at the computer or watching the television, and deal with anxiety and frustration with overeating or sweets. How to stop the epidemic of childhood obesity during a worldwide pandemic?
"The recipe for weight gain is simple: lack of exercise, inappropriate eating habits, sedentary lifestyle. That in combination with a limited social contact and a disorganised daily routine rings many warning alarms. Children are not allowed to participate in any organised sports activities, go to after-school clubs or individual sports, moreover, meals often do not correspond to the reduced energy expenditure caused by staying at home with reduced physical activities, "describes Dr. Barbara Taušová, paediatrician from Canadian Medical.
It’s up to the parents!
What to do? How to motivate your child and pull them out of their lethargy? What warning signs should we not neglect? First and foremost, lead by example, try to maintain a regular daily routine even at home. Getting up on time, having breakfast at the table (not at the computer or television), changing out of your pyjamas for distance learning, planning not only lunch time, but also regular walks. Support your youngsters by cooking home-cooked meals and getting them to engage in the preparation. This enforces positive stereotypes and habits around healthy eating and exercise in the family setting. You can't expect your child to move around more and eat a plate full of vegetables when you are sitting in front of the TV with a plate full of "unhealthy" goodies and your only active movement is between the fridge and the sofa.
Take not of what your children eat for breakfast and if they snack throughout the day!
When it comes to eating, parents should be especially careful when and how their child eats during the day. It is important to eat regularly, not just when he gets very hungry. Eating shouldn’t be another chore.
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What are the recommendations about intake of sugars?
"The recommended amount of added sugars per day is a maximum of ten percent of our total energy intake. Those who need 2000 kcal per day should not have more than 200 kcal of those calories (50 grams) per day coming from added sugars. The American Cardiology Association recommends limiting your intake to 5% added sugars to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and to reduce your cardiovascular risk. This means 25 grams for women, 36 grams for men and 25 grams of added sugars for children, “advises Mgr. Ing. Jitka Jirků, nutritional therapist.