Once the pattern of putting on weight in childhood is established, it is much harder to change
Question: I’ve just taken my 4-year-old son to the GP as he had a bad cold and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the flu. While I was there, out of the blue the GP told me that my son was very overweight. To be honest, I was a bit shocked. I always thought he was a bit pudgy but didn’t think it was a big problem. I was also a bit annoyed that the GP told me, but now that I think about it, I realise he was only doing his job. Now I have been reading up about childhood obesity and all the health problems it brings and I realise I need to do something about it. I should tell you I am quite overweight myself, and I never really got rid of the baby weight. I also think that my worry that my daughter, who is six, might be overweight as well, and their Dad is even beginning to put on the pounds! Do you have tips as to how I can help my children? I don’t want to make a big deal of it or make them feel bad.
Answer: As parents, getting concerning news about the health of your child is always upsetting and a big shock when it is unexpected. Hearing that your child is overweight can have a particular upsetting impact as it is easy to feel blamed as a parent and guilty that you have not noticed before. However, it is important to realise that childhood obesity is as much a collective societal problem as an individual personal problem.