Childhood Obesity And How To Prevent It For Your Own Children

Childhood obesity is a growing issue in Irish society. A recent study showed that almost 10% of young children in Ireland are considered to be obese.

Childhood obesity is a growing issue in Irish society. A recent study showed that almost 10% of young children in Ireland are considered to be obese.
Obesity is a very serious issue which affects a child’s physical and emotional well-being. Research shows that overweight children are far more likely to become overweight adults in later life. This puts them at a greater risk of developing life-altering diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes which can have devastating effects.

Childhood obesity is usually the result of many factors. A poor diet and lack of physical activity are the main reasons but there are other lifestyle and emotional factors which can play a roll in its prevalence too. Obesity is usually not a genetic condition which can be passed down to your children but rather it is the habits and shared unhealthy diet which may be the common denominator if obesity is something affecting both the adults and children in any given family.

Inactivity is something that modern society has normalised. So many of our children’s favourite activities involve technology or screens in some form. For this reason children are spending less and less time outdoors and as a result activity levels are at an all-time low.

If you are concerned about your child’s weight you can speak to your GP about it and they will help you in an empathetic way. Using your child’s height and weight measurements they can determine your child’s weight classification using the BMI chart. This allows for gender and age differences which can have an impact on weight variables. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your child’s weight is something that should be of concern or not.
They will advise you on ways that you can begin to improve the family and child’s lifestyle patterns to increase activity levels and improve their overall lifestyle. This is something that will benefit the whole family in the long run.

If your child is overweight it is important to show them empathy and support from the very beginning. If your child recognises that you are disappointed in them or upset about their appearance then they are likely to adopt that view of themselves also. This can be very damaging to their self-esteem and confidence as they continue to develop and grow.
At the same time, it is important to be honest about the need for these lifestyle changes. Putting a positive slant on it may be helpful.
You might take up a new physical hobby together or encourage the child to get involved in healthy cooking to help form new habits and routines around these activities. Focusing on all of the benefits that these things will bring will be a lot more effective than emphasising how this must happen and doing it with a sense of panic.
New shared experiences, more energy, better sleep and new foods to try are good positives to start with. If it is a team effort and something that affects the whole family it will be far better received than if one child is singled out and made to feel like they are being punished.

Preventing childhood obesity is something that a lot of parents feel passionate about. Encouraging your child to eat their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, promoting activity and sports and keeping sugary snacks and treats to a minimum are really good places to focus your attention. A healthy balanced diet and an active lifestyle is something that will benefit the entire house in so many physical and holistic ways.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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