07/05/2020

Is childhood obesity rising in England?

For many years, obesity has been a hot topic as the nation strives for each member of the public to have better physical and mental health. One sector of this which has always struggled is childhood obesity.

With most children in nurseries, daycare or schooling facilities regularly, there has never been a more critical time for early years professionals to get on board with tackling this issue.

How can an early year professional help tackle childhood obesity?

Anybody working with children has a professional duty of care to look out for that child, the same as safeguarding; they must protect the child from anything harmful in their life. This does not mean you need to verbally-wrestle a parent and demand a radical health diet for a child, but there are some small changes you can make to help better influence a child’s lifestyle.

Getting active is vital. Of course, there are many activities to enjoy during nursery hours. Rushing to play with paints, read books and games is a common sight. Something you can do with the children, to break up the day and ensure they are active, is to have an hour of activity a day. 

This does not need to be in one go; you might head out to the playground for two 30-minute periods at a time. Be sure to pay attention to those who are overweight and encourage to get them running around.

Healthy snacks and meals could be slightly trickier to introduce if a parent insists on sending the child in with food. A great way to tackle this is to give the child an information card each day to take home. 

A quick note to say “Jacob ate a ham sandwich, apple and carrot sticks for lunch today” will not only tell the parent what their child has eaten but demonstrates to them what they should be providing their child with. It could even lead to the child enjoying new and healthy foods.

A key thing to remember is portion control on this. If a child is provided with the right food, make sure it’s also the right amount.

How you can help tackle childhood obesity

You can help combat this national issue by completing an Early Years and Childhood Studies degree. The University of Bolton provides a variety of courses that will give you all the tools needed to help keep children active and healthy. Putting all your skills to use could mean changing a child’s life for the better, are you ready?

 

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