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Healthy eating and obesity in children

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15 years ago
We should start by identifying obesity, The dictionary definition is "Extremely overweight". The clinical definition is that when the BMI (Body Mass Index - which is very difficult to measure)is in excess of 25% body fat for men and 30% body fat for women that person is obese. Obesity has been more precisely defined by the National Institutes of Health (the NIH) as a BMI of 30 and above. (A BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight.) The BMI (body mass index), a key index for relating body weight to height, is a person's weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m)squared. Since the BMI describes the body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with the total body fat content. I am obese and using the calulation above my BMI is height 1.755, my weight is 120 kgms. The calculation therefore is 120 divided by 1.755 squared = 120 divided by 3.2 = 37.5. Yet I exercise three times a week, I am a vegetarian, I do not drink and I do not smoke. I am relatively careful what I eat and the portions are relatively small. Now there is the rub because the answer I get from well meaning - but deluded - friends is "you are big boned" or "cuddly" or " I cannot believe you are that weight" or "you carry it well". What you want to hear is "you fat***** shed it or die" - scare tactics not collusion. If it like that for me then what is it like for youngsters and their peer group pressure, television and hoarding advertising, the need to conform. We need to break this cycle for our youngsters - now how are we going to contribute to that change? Contribute with strategies we can all use, with diets, suggestions for healthy but "cool" food. I want to hear from you.

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