John Cowan - Kids Fatten Up Over Summer

Publish Date
Thursday, 7 January 2016, 1:59PM
By John Cowan

In a century, the monarch will be William and Kate’s little boy, King George, and he will be 102 years old. I expect he will spend a long time every day sending out 100th birthday cards to his elderly subjects. The chances are, your children will get one from him. It’s a nice thought that, if life expectancy keeps improving, our kids will probably live to be a hundred.

Let’s improve their chances of seeing the 22nd century. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure they eat well and keep their weight at a healthy level. An interesting study* I just saw shows that children put on more weight over the summer vacation than they do when they are at school. At school, they are busy, they have sport, and eating can only be at certain times; during summer, many kids just graze when they want and they spend days inactive in front of games and media.

It is easier to displace behaviour than it is to stop behaviour.  Rather than saying “Don’t eat” it is better to say, “Eat this instead.” Hide the high calorie snacks and ditch the sugary drinks; instead, 

stock your cupboards with healthier options. Limit eating to certain times: “I know you’re hungry but I want you to hang on until lunch”.  Discourage eating while gaming or watching TV as it can often become unconscious, automatic eating.  Many kids (and adults, too) eat, not because of hunger but because they are bored. They see food is entertainment and it certainly can be, so use the holidays to let them become even more entertained by food – by that, I mean teach them to cook.  It’s fun, they learn great skills and they become far more intentional and knowledgeable about what they eat.

Have a fun summer with your kids.


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