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Young Canberrans are tubby marshmallows!

asp 18 August 2007 42

The ABC is reporting that: a new survey has found that more than a quarter of senior primary school students in Canberra are overweight or obese.

Marshmallows

Katy Gallagher says these results will help the government to create new strategies to combat our, shall we say “growing” society.

Well, I think enough strategies already exist. The teachers lecture students about what not to eat (though they seem to focus on McDonalds and Coke Cola a little to much). But I think the problem is very much at home. When I was at school, my colleagues seemed to rarely eat a fresh dinner, instead choosing microwave pizza, chips and chicken nuggets in their room or at the local sport club. There’s only so much the government can do. We can’t have a broccoli gestapo now can we?

So, what can we do to prevent the children turning into marshmallows?

If you have kids, what are you feeding them and doing to make sure they eat well?


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42 Responses to Young Canberrans are tubby marshmallows!
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Special G Special G 10:17 am 19 Aug 07

ding ding. Round 2 fight.

asp asp 12:26 am 19 Aug 07

Gentleman Farmer, wow, I though my posts were long.
Anyway, you’re a little f*cked up aren’t you.
I know, that’s crude and it doesn’t really argue a point. But I gave up arguing with people who don’t have a concept of reality a while ago.

“Talk about scaremongering. You know how they nearly always illustrate articles and news items on childhood “obesity” with pictures of really fat kids? Kids that fat do not represent anywhere near 25% of the juvenile population. More like around 1%.”
–QUOTE A F*CKING SOURCE or show some empirical research (evidence), judging by what I sore at school and what I see at the shops, that is total bullsh*t.

“Also contributing to weirdness with kids’ weight/BMI measurements – most kids actually get a bit chubby right before a growth spurt. They’re supposed to, so they’ve got energy reserves for all that growing. So in January they could easily measure as “overweight” and then in July as “normal” without doing anything but growing up – and vice versa.”
–So what about the kids who are chubby and fat all year round. And are you saying that years of world wide research by experts has always managed to measure students using only one method (BMI) and only ever before the test subjects are about to have a growth spurt.

“Why all this research? Part of recovery treatment for an eating disorder. So I’ll be damned if I see another child, actually fat or not, shamed or frightened or forced into having an eating disorder because of the fear of “obesity”. That’s not acceptable “collateral damage”, I don’t care how unhealthy you think being fat is. If it’s so bad, find some other way of dealing with it because what’s going on now is NOT HELPING.”
— Whoa, you really are an illogical heap of BS.

I use to eat health and be athletic. But over the past couple of years, I begin to get snowed under with work, would eat fast food more and do less exercise. I’ve gone from trim and athletic to “nothing special”. I’m not fat, but not in tip top condition. I use to run a 7km circuit in record time at school, now I feel puffed after 2.5kms. I AM THE F*CKING EVIDENCE of what is happening to people, kids and adults, these days. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise. It’s not an eating disorder, fear or “collateral damage”, it simple logic and reality. I don’t like it but I know should be in better shape and will take steps to remedy it. I’m certainly not in denial, though I suspect you are. Perhaps you’re a little pudgy and would rather blame the fear mongering media and respected experts than the pantry full of chips you have and the treadmill you haven’t used since the Berlin Wall came down.

In the past year, I have seen reports in trusted publications (journals, industry periodicals) as well as the general media that points to “generation Y” being both fatter and dumber than the last generation. As part of that generation, I tend to agree. Now is not a time for denial. This can not turn into the protracted debate over the safety of cigarettes. There is a serious issue with weight in our community (even if not so much as the media portrays) and it must be addressed.

So, Gentleman Farmer, would you DISAGREE that the following should be done to ensure the health and long life of my generation and of my kids:
– Ensure kids eat well both at school and at home, limiting “bad” foods to a limited number of servings per week.
– Ensure kids (and indeed all of us) spends a certain amount of time per day/week doing exercise, even if it’s just walking.
– Making sure our weight stays within the recommended weight range for our age unless there are special medical circumstances that can cause excess weight.

Gentleman Farmer Gentleman Farmer 10:34 pm 18 Aug 07

PS – Here’s a transcript from Dr Jeffrey Friedman, one of the world’s leading obesity researchers (also a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, apologies if you don’t know how nerdily prestigious that is): an extremely credible source. Read it if you think fat people are mostly just lazy or gluttonous or lack “willpower”. Read it anyway, it’s extremely interesting. He knows more than you do.

http://www.rockefeller.edu/benchmarks/obesitytranscript.pdf

Gentleman Farmer Gentleman Farmer 10:17 pm 18 Aug 07

Talk about scaremongering. You know how they nearly always illustrate articles and news items on childhood “obesity” with pictures of really fat kids? Kids that fat do not represent anywhere near 25% of the juvenile population. More like around 1%.

Authorities measure “overweight” and “obese” by taking a child’s BMI (a complete crap measurement in adults let alone growing kids) and comparing it to a growth chart (a bell curve) of kids the same age. If the child is in the top 5%, they’re considered obese. If they’re in the top 15%, they’re considered overweight. Trouble is, the growth charts haven’t actually been updated for some time, so you’re counting kids who are just plain bigger (as in, taller and heavier but not necessarily fatter) than their age peers. Better nutrition contributing to higher bone density and muscle mass, and less early childhood illness and disease, mean that kids are just plain healthier than they used to be. I’m pretty sure most people with kids in school know that there are a few kids in every class who look like they should be a couple of years up – I know I have. Those kids are contributing to the “childhood obesity crisis”.

Also contributing to weirdness with kids’ weight/BMI measurements – most kids actually get a bit chubby right before a growth spurt. They’re supposed to, so they’ve got energy reserves for all that growing. So in January they could easily measure as “overweight” and then in July as “normal” without doing anything but growing up – and vice versa.

Here’s a big clue too: Kids in senior primary school? That includes lots of 10, 11, and 12 year old girls. Guess what’s about to happen to those girls? Yep, puberty. The average age for menarche is now 13, and you’d be surprised at the number of girls who get their period at 9 or 10 these days. A year or so before menarche, a girl’s body starts putting on normal healthy body fat that women are supposed to have so they can ovulate and conceive. A girl is supposed to put on around a quarter of her adult body weight at this time, yet is still measured against “child” growth charts. That 35kg 10 year old girl could be 53kg by the time she’s 12, and that’s completely normal. (Do you think they bother to tell girls this when they show them the “Oooh, you’re a woman now” DVD at school? No wonder so many young teenage girls freak out about it and head down the eating disorders path.)

And believe it or not, no, authorities do not actually take any of this into account when calculating childhood obesity statistics.

What can we do about fat kids? Leave them the hell alone. Fearmongering about obesity is creating a real crisis: younger and younger kids with eating disorders. Not only kids who are “technically obese” who are shamed into starving themselves, but “normal” kids who see the way fat kids are singled out and the fear adults have of fat, and will take desperate measures to avoid it.

Programs to reduce childhood obesity don’t actually work, either. There have been quite a few running in the US for a while now, and they’ve had bugger all effect. Nutrition education, more PE, free fruit and veg at school – none of it actually has an effect on kids’ weight. Reviews of the scientific literature show no evidence that interventions such as these have any effect on reducing childhood obesity, and that regardless of what kids actually eat, they grow up to be a wide range of weights. Studies looking at identical twins raised together and apart, and adopted kids, show that what weight you end up as an adult is pretty much genetic and childhood environment and behaviour (controlling for illness) has little to do with it.

I’m not making any of this up. If you bother to read any of the actual medical literature and not just the regurgitated press releases you can find it out for yourself. Do you know where that “Kids today will have a lessened life expectancy because of obesity!” idea came from? Two US obesity researchers who were basically having a rough guess based on computer data modelling of an *imagined* USA population – there’s no basis in fact whatsoever. If you want to go by the standard BMI categories, people in the “overweight” category actually have the longest life expectancy, people in the “normal” and “obese” category equally have the next lowest life expectancy, then people in the “morbidly obese” category (who represent only around 2-3% of the population, incidentally), then people in the “underweight” category have the lowest. And those “underweight” people
despite being less of the population than the “morbidly obese” have more excess deaths, even accounting for people who lost a lot of weight due to, for example, chemotherapy. Where’s this information from? The USA’s Center for Disease Control.

Why all this research? Part of recovery treatment for an eating disorder. So I’ll be damned if I see another child, actually fat or not, shamed or frightened or forced into having an eating disorder because of the fear of “obesity”. That’s not acceptable “collateral damage”, I don’t care how unhealthy you think being fat is. If it’s so bad, find some other way of dealing with it because what’s going on now is NOT HELPING.

thetruth thetruth 10:06 pm 18 Aug 07

“The cost of the obese kids on our health system will be more than the cost of watering the ovals.”

Yes the health costs are huge, but watering ovals to be in a safe condition in times of water scarcity is a practical impossibility it takes about 150,000 litres per oval per week – count the number of water trucks to ship in recycled water not to mention the numbers of people (and that amount of water increases when it is hotter!).

The money and effort would be better placed investing in fewer, big and more water savy locations

futto futto 9:09 pm 18 Aug 07

Our young fatties have too much self-esteem so they feel no need to lose the pounds.

Nemo Nemo 8:53 pm 18 Aug 07

There is also the ‘Have a go’ cricket program which is for younger kids and is more about getting outside and having fun.

http://cricket.com.au/default.aspx?s=milohaveago

Nemo Nemo 8:33 pm 18 Aug 07

Kramer, I believe junior cricket only goes for a couple of hours – similer to football.
They play the game over two weeks, alternating batting and bowling.

The Little Athletics season is about to commence soon too.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 8:20 pm 18 Aug 07

The obesity of an individual lies squarely with what they put in their mouth (food-wise, that is).

Yes, yes, some people have medical problems which means none of it is their fault (but it’s a bloody small proportion).

GnT GnT 8:05 pm 18 Aug 07

“There’s only so much the government can do”

Agreed

“they seem to focus on McDonalds and Coke Cola a little to much”

Double Agreed. McDonalds and Coke can form part of a healthy, balanced diet. Just not every day. McDonalds has done a lot recently to update their menu with some healthier items and I think they deserve credit for this trend, not continuously bagged out as though they’re the sole cause of childhood obesity.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 8:01 pm 18 Aug 07

Maybe the chubby little bastards need to stop chowing down on junk food. There’s a hint there for the parents among us.

Kramer Kramer 7:57 pm 18 Aug 07

“Cricket season is also soon to be upon us.”

Sorry Thumper, but I’ll be doing everything possible to prevent my kids playing cricket. Who would want to spend an entire day bored out of their brain watching (or worse scoring) kids cricket. They will get as much exercise (if not more) from 80 minutes of rugby, and if it isn’t more entertaining (but how could little kids smashing each other not be), it’s only 80 minutes of my life.

sepi sepi 6:56 pm 18 Aug 07

The cost of the obese kids on our health system will be more than the cost of watering the ovals.

nyssa76 nyssa76 6:04 pm 18 Aug 07

Don’t crowd the curriculum with PC BS and there will be more time for sporting programs within schools – not crammed in whenever there is room.

thetruth thetruth 5:48 pm 18 Aug 07

Keeping local ovals open may not be either possible or the long term answer given water supplies / restrictions and costs.

Thumper Thumper 5:32 pm 18 Aug 07

Cricket season is also soon to be upon us.

Nemo Nemo 3:17 pm 18 Aug 07

Basketball Canberra has programs for kids of all ages and ability levels.

http://www.act.basketball.net.au/FS_extra.asp?id=5288&OrgID=10

Nemo Nemo 3:02 pm 18 Aug 07

The baseball season is starting soon and is great for kids of all ages and fitness levels.

The link below has details of upcoming registration days.
http://www.actbandits.baseball.com.au/default.asp?Page=37686

sepi sepi 10:14 am 18 Aug 07

Strategy Two: Retain and fund public programs like Paint and Play in the local parks around Canberra.

sepi sepi 10:13 am 18 Aug 07

Suggested strategy for keeping kids fit and healthy:

Keep local ovals open, and retain green spaces within the suburbs.

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