It is essential that through government and community participation, we develop, establish and integrate safe strategies to tackle the ever increasing problem of childhood obesity.
‘Australia is rapidly turning into a nation of fat kids.’
One in every five youngsters is now designated as overweight or obese, living a life prone to cardiovascular and health problems along with risks to there mental state and general well being. Studies conducted by The Australian Diabetes, obesity and lifestyle council indicate that poor self-esteem and confidence has also been associated with obesity and almost doubles the chances of depression. Education Queensland also associates obesity with poor academic performance, un-developed motor skills and coordination.
Obesity is a killer, not only causing serious long term medial problems, but costing the taxpayer over a billion dollars each year. Something must be done. If we don’t act on this problem NOW, then it is predicted by 2020 that 65% of adolescents will be overweight or obese.
There are so many reasons to exercise, so many benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. In today’s media conscious world we hear bout them, read bout them and are told about them almost everyday. So why do we continually ask the question.. why is Australia’s youth becoming increasingly overweight and unfit? There is a simple reason behind this staggering truth, a recent study found that 80 percent of adolescence did very little or no exercise- daily activities such as walking to school, physical education classes, after school activities, chores and general playing have been replaced with a sedentary lifestyle in front of the TV, computer or video games.
Together we need to develop, establish and integrate safe program that offers adolescents of all ages the opportunity to engage in physical activity that enhances work, recreation and sports enjoyment and performance.
For you see Im not going to let another child go through the pain, torture and humiliation I suffered in my childhood years. Let me tell you a story…
“For the majority of my primary years I was called ‘fattie’. I weighed about a 130 kilos, had a double chin, a bulging gut, fat hanging from every direction and for this physical appearance I truly copped it. Undoubtedly, my years at primary school probably weren’t like your days, fun-filled or joyful, my days were filled with tears, pain and suffering. Every single day of my life from years four to seven were filled with name calling and pranks. Not a day went by that I didn’t get singled out, harassed or bullied.
Day after day, second after second I was being called ‘fat boy, fattie, go have another cheese burger’. It tore away my confidence and squashed my self esteem. I missed out on what people describe as some of the best years of your life, I gave up rugby, soccer and swimming not because I didn’t enjoy it, but instead because every time I went to training or a game I felt alone… inadequate.”
How would you like it if you life was like this day after day, , minute after minute? Do you think you’d be sitting where you are today?,
This heart break, pain and torture was caused by one thing obesity. I was so sick of been harassed, singled out I searched for a solution. Three months later, after living on a diet that consisted of egg white, protein shakes and salad and an hours exercise. I was a new person, sixty kilos lighter. But the psychological issues were still there, I became ever more unconfident, depressed and unsure of myself. I became addicted to the gym, going twice or three times a day and even took growth hormones and steroids to gain people’s acceptance. The cycle kept on going, until it got to the point where it got to much, the body couldn’t handle it, I couldn’t handle.. and I found myself in hospital. Childhood obesity isn’t simply, an issue of been fat, it plays with the mind and heart.
Together, we need to develop, establish and integrate safe program that allows youths of all shapes and sizes the chance to identify the physiological reason as why they are overweight, the opportunity to be involved with whatever physical activity they find fun, and motivate and support them to lead a healthy and active life in a safe manner.
Something needs to be done. It is essential that through political and social streams, an alliance is formed to tackle the ever increasing problems of childhood obesity.
With government funding, a program can be developed that that permanently changes basic eating and exercise habits. This will be achieved by identifying the key emotional issues that are instrumental in the adolescent becoming overweight. Allowing children from all socio-economic backgrounds the opportunity to take up physical activity such as soccer or rugby and be in a supportive atmosphere were dietians, physiologist and mentors are available. Such a program can be integrated within the current school time table or take place as an after school care activity. By establishing and integrating such a program that approaches the problems of childhood obesity from every angle, we can hopefully help those one in five suffers.
Studies by Fitness Australia, illustrate that Youth receiving additional physical activity tend to show improved attributes such as increased brain function and nourishment, higher energy/concentration levels, changes in body build affecting increased self-esteem and better behaviour which may all support cognitive learning. If this is not enough to convince you, then think bout it from your own perspective, would you like to be teased and tormented everyday, live in a world of depression, where you simply don’t think you match up?
As Martin Luther King once said “I am not sure I would have wanted my children to live a life of torment and abuse, so I dared to stop it.” Together, we can turn Australia into a nation of healthy, lean, happy and confident children, that are on top of the world.