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Reader’s Comment of the Day: The best cure for child obesity is common sense

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In response to Laura Keynes: How to slim down our 140,000 supersized kids? Restore the traditional family and its regular mealtimes, Vera wrote:

Surgery should never be the answer to excess weight. Weight loss surgery results in restricted lives for patients. Action should be taken long before excess weight becomes morbid obesity.

Overweight kids just require minor adjustments to their lifestyle, a sensible diet and plenty of activity. Start the day with a protein-rich breakfast – eggs, baked beans, porridge, they are surprisingly quick to cook and not expensive. Chuck out the sugary cereals, there’s no nutrition in them.

For decades the medical profession has been telling us that our meals need to consist of a large proportion of starch such as potatoes, pasta, bread, rice. All good if you do lots of activity, i.e. you are an athlete or have a job which includes plenty of activity or labouring. But for the rest of us all this extra unused starch gets turned into sugar in our bodies and is stored as fat around our middles. Starches contain little nutrition so there’s no loss if you reduce portion size. And we do need fats, so don’t buy fat-free food, it contains lots of sweetener to give it taste and children need those fats for their development.

All sugary food and drinks should be occasional treats, not everyday eating – just buy them now and again. No one will come to harm if there are no biscuits in the cupboard. Water and milk are good cheap drinks for kids and are better for their teeth.

I recently watched Embarrassing Bodies on TV on just this subject and was appalled that they put overweight children into a gym and had them working out on the equipment. How boring for the child. It may have helped get the child’s waist measurement down but that child is not going to keep that up for more than a couple of weeks. Why couldn’t they have introduced the children to some active games, anything with some running, with or without a ball, or swimming. Children in the past were always out playing these types of games – not only do they use up energy, they are fun and have social benefits for the child. And if they lead to the child taking up football or some other sport long term, so the more, the better.

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