With one in four children are overweight or obese, it’s no secret that Australia is in the grips of a national health crisis.
While it’s undeniable that unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles drive this trend, when you look beyond the numbers, when you look at the boys and girls that contribute to them, it’s not always that simple.
A Mumsnet user proved just that this week when she reached out to parents of overweight children as research for an educational play. She was met with more than one hundred stories from mothers around the world, many of which unearthed the deeper roots of their children’s issues with food.
These are just a few.
‘I don’t want them to feel hunger’
“When I was a child I/we were always hungry – always,” one poster wrote. “We had no money, food was Weetbix with half and half – milk and water, free school lunch, cheese and bread or beans on toast and water from the tap. I was skinny – skin and bones.
“I’m now fat and finding it hard to work out what is good nutritionally for my kids since I do not want them to feel hunger, but I do not want to over compensate and make them unhealthy. My ‘poor’ past has meant many food issues.”
Rebecca and Robin talk about all things food and whether we can consider it our friend or foe. Post continues…
‘It’s just who she is’
“She’s always been like this, since she was a toddler, it’s just who she is,” another user wrote of one of her daughters. “In today’s world, kids are exposed a lot to food and she has had to consciously (with our support) learn portion control, making healthy choices and keeping active at an earlier age than most.”
‘My son is autistic’
“It has been a battle to keep his weight down but he is still obese. He is getting better as he gets older but the main problem is his lack of activity which is made harder by the autism (his obsession with computers and problems with motor skills). He eats pretty healthy food and I’ve managed to keep his weight the same for 18 months now which has been hard work when he is shouting at me for food or trying to sneak it when I’m not looking.”
‘I took my eye off the ball…’
“My youngest became overweight when she was about 3.5 because I was unwell for a few months and it was easier to sit on the sofa,” wrote one user. “Her character is that she is naturally inclined to sit around if she gets away with it. And she also eats when bored. So as soon as I took my eye off the ball it happened.
“She’s now a healthy weight but going onwards my biggest problems keeping her there are that she would eat rubbish until she pops (unlike my eldest, who stops when full). And my husband keeps offering the children rubbish while I run around being kill joy mum.”