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A weighty issue

Posted by School Run Mum on 24/03/2011. Tags: School Run Mum

text re imageI read, with disappointment, a sobering article in the Irish Independent, Health & Living supplement this week. The headline ‘Children should be weighed twice a year’  caught my eye.

Twice a year? I don’t think either of my children have been weighed since they were tiny babies. I used to have a keen interest in their weight; how many pounds and ounces they weighed (could never get my head around kilos) and where they were on the percentile chart. Now? Now I don’t give it a moment’s thought, other than to note that I can barely lift my five-year-old anymore and the three-year-old is giving my biceps a run for their money.

I know that my children are fit and healthy just by looking at them. I don’t worry about their weight – and hope I won’t have to for many, many years. But, with the startling figures noted in the Independent article that ‘one in five children aged five to 12 years old is overweight or obese’ this is clearly an issue not to be ignored.

Professor O’Shea, the country’s leading obesity expert, states in the article that, “the health implications of being obese as a child are similar to that of smoking. Parents would not give their children cigarettes.”  Parents do, of course, have a responsibility to encourage their children to eat healthily and be active. Certainly, compared to the school dinner system in the UK, we have a lot more control over what our children eat during the day. We don't have to worry about Jamie Oliver's infamous turkey twizzlers; we can select healthy options for their lunchboxes.

It’s not always easy to do the right, or healthy thing. Of course they whinge and whine when you tell them you're all going out for a walk when they just want to play on their DS. Of course they complain when faced with a proper meal with actual vegetables on their plate. Of course it would be easier to give in to them, have an easy life, sit on the sofa and have nuggets or pizza, again. But that’s not what being a parent is about is it? Taking the easy option. Surely, being a parent is about making the difficult decisions, having the battles, giving the ‘tough love’. Because in the end, we all want what’s best for our children. Not just now, at 5pm on a Wednesday teatime when everyone’s tired and cranky and the pizza and chips looks like a really appealing option for tea, but for the future. We owe them that at least.



(24-03-2011 11:16)

I am not a big fan of weighing children or adults as muscle is heavier than fat. If you truly want to find out if a child is overweight they would have to do a body fat index which is time consuming.

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