‘Puppy fat’ is a cute name for a very serious problem. Obesity in children is becoming a major issue. In Australia, it is also on the rise. One study found that the rate of obesity in pre-teen boys had doubled in the past thirteen years and that around 14% of boys in this age group were now considered clinically obese.
While obesity rates for girls have remained more stable at 6%, the number of girls in the same age group being classified as obese has increased significantly.
What is Obesity?
For people to be considered obese, they need to have a Body Mass Index score of 25% or above. This score is calculated by dividing your weight by your squared height. Whilst this is a simple calculation and ranges can vary widely, depending on bone structure and other factors, a BMI of 25% is never a good thing.
Why the Change?
The reasons cited for the change in BMI for children was the more sedentary lifestyles that they have today. Nowadays, children spend a lot of time glued to small screens such as mobile phones, televisions and computers, and a lot less time running around playing outside.
Children today also have a much busier social schedule – more school, more extra-curricular activities, etcetera, and less time to exercise.
This can also have some serious health implications. Doctors recommend a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise five times a week, in order to maintain good health – most adults barely make the minimum, let alone children.
Getting Children to Exercise
Let’s face it, the chances of getting your children excited about going to gym, especially if they haven’t been into exercise before, are very slim. For people to keep up an activity, they need to have some interest in it.
That’s where indoor sports such as indoor cricket and soccer can come in. Children can play at night, and in any type of weather. They can therefore fit the sports into their busy schedules.
Indoor sports are a convenient and fun way to get fit – there are various different teams for players of different abilities and matches can be as serious or as much fun as required. The main idea is that children get to move around and exercise without feeling as though they are working out. Indoor Sports also offers a great opportunity for family and sibling bonding.
Obesity is often found to be rooted in feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. Children will literally eat because it is the only thing that makes them feel better. Indoor sports can help to build confidence and allow children to make new friends.
This is invaluable in combating childhood obesity.