It’s no secret that the health of Australians is not heading in the right direction, and as a parent what’s more worrying is the health of our younger generation.
If you have been following me and Daz and our Healthy Lollies journey, you’ll have noticed that we place significance on living a healthy lifestyle. It’s core to why we started Daz & Andy’s Healthy Lollies. We’re by no means perfect, but generally we try hard to stay active. If you frequent our social channels you’ll see us often doing physical activity with our kids. We do our best to ensure they understand the significance of a healthy diet and exercise. Basically we strive to ensure they live long healthy lives and our hope is that this becomes their norm and that they too carry this through to the next generation.
With this sentiment in mind, what I saw whilst on our recent holiday truly saddened me; so many children carrying unnecessary unhealthy amounts of weight. Weight which can inevitably result in obesity and Type II diabetes.
So then I started digging around to understand just how bad this epidemic is…
Rising Obesity Rates
It doesn't seem to add up; Australia has an image of healthy outdoorsy people but the stats don’t support this for the masses. Most alarming are the stats for youths - the most recent data from the 2017-2018 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NCNPAS) showed that 1 in 4 children aged 5-17 were overweight or obese, with boys being significantly more likely to be overweight than girls (1 in 3 boys compared to 1 in 4 girls). It’s no surprise that unhealthy eating patterns and sedentary lifestyles have been identified as major contributing factors to this obesity epidemic. Unhealthy diets consisting mainly of processed foods, sugary drinks, and convenience meals are now commonplace amongst young Australians. It’s just too easy (and cheaper) to buy what’s not good for us.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
Not only does obesity increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but other lifestyle factors can also play an important role. Poor diet choices such as low fibre intake and high sugar consumption have been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes, as has physical inactivity. If Diabetes is already in your family history, then a good diet and exercise are even more important..
Make Healthy Choices
It goes without saying that having a healthy diet is essential for any age group as is regular exercise, but especially for children who are still growing. As parents we do our best to ensure that our children are eating nutritious meals made from fresh ingredients with plenty of fruits and vegetables included. Processed foods are a disaster as these often contain high levels of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. It’s particularly hard to avoid these foods, especially when you’re on a road trip and your only stop is the big petrol / fast food service centres. Our kids love a sweet treat as do we. Our boys go-to are the Sugar-Free Zollipops and Daz and I indulge in the wickedly delicious Caramel toffees with Vitamin D. We’ve simply swapped a sugar-full sweet with a healthier alternative.
The options are there, but people need to ‘want to make the healthier choice’ and that takes education. Don’t get me started on what the Government could be doing to reduce our sugar intake! Six years on… Another blog post will cover that.
Exercise is also key to helping your kids develop healthy habits early on in life which will benefit them later on as they continue to grow. Even whilst on holiday we made an effort to spend 30 - 60 minutes doing a physical activity - running whilst the boys scooted is a fave and fun - not so much for me - not a runner ;) But again we consciously make these decisions for the health of us and our children.
I am by no means an expert on health but what I do know is that I have choices. Daz and I choose to live healthy lifestyles - yes it takes effort sometimes but we know our family will reap the rewards for years to come. As parents we have an obligation to do our best for our kids by ensuring they live healthy lifestyles free from preventable illnesses wherever possible.
What could you start today, to make a positive difference to yours and your families health tomorrow?