YOUNG HEAVYWEIGHT: Childhood is a growing problem in the UK
OVERWEIGHT CHILDREN whose eating habits are risking their health should be urged to write a diary of what they eat, according to new guidelines for public health in England.
The measures aimed at curbing rates of childhood obesity have been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which has set out other suggestions for parents to adopt in order to get their children more active.
In the same guidelines which tells doctors not to blame obese adults for being overweight, NICE recommends that children from the age of 12 should keep a diary noting their intake of food, physical activity and other parts of their routine requiring no exercise, such as watching TV.
In the guidance, NICE tells parents: “For example, encourage them to keep a record of time spent watching television or playing computer games, and what they snack on and when, to identify areas that need addressing.”
The recommendations also say greater support is needed for parents and guardians of overweight children in order to help them tackle obesity – incorporating exercise into a daily routine, such as walking or cycling to school.
NICE director of the Centre for Public Health professor Mike Kelly said: “We are recommending family-based lifestyle programmes are provided which give tailored advice.
“These programmes will also support parents to identify changes that can be done at home to tackle obesity - and maintained over the long term.”
He added: “Many of them are things we should all be doing anyway, including healthy eating, getting the whole family to be more active and reducing the amount of time spent watching TV and playing computer games.
“Being overweight or obese has a significant impact on a child's quality of life. It can affect their self-esteem and they are more likely to be bullied or stigmatised.”