With the ongoing pandemic, the stress of figuring out how to send children back to school safely and the myriad other challenges facing parents during this time, it’s no surprise that concerns such as the fight against childhood obesity have taken a back seat.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that the UK has one of the world’s worst childhood obesity problems, and that action needs to be taken.[i] While government policies have been planned to help to tackle childhood obesity rates, these have recently fallen from schedule. As such, it’s a good idea to make changes at home where possible in order to give your children the best chance of staying active and healthy.
As we all know, sugar is likely the number one enemy when it comes to diet. This means that simple switches such as changing fruit juice for milk or choosing breakfast cereals with no added sugar can make a big difference. This will also go some way towards helping to protect your kids’ oral health, as sugar is the leading cause of decay and cavities, especially in children. Childhood obesity and tooth decay do seem to go hand in hand to some extent,[ii] and this means that it’s important for both oral health and general health to make some switches to keep your children healthy.
It’s also a good idea to evaluate what exercise your children get and see whether this is something you can increase. In lockdown and even now, getting out and about and doing lots of usual activities has been difficult. So, what about finding some home fitness sessions for free on YouTube? There are plenty of child-friendly fitness resources available online and these can make a real difference even if they are only done for half an hour a day.
In the end, your children’s health is of paramount importance. Though childhood obesity and bad oral health don’t always go hand in hand, it’s still true that everyone benefits from a better diet and exercise. By making a few dietary switches and trying to incorporate more exercise into your children’s day, you can help prevent them from becoming obese, sidestepping many common oral health problems caused by too much sugar.
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[ii] Public Health England. The Relationship Between Dental Caries and Obesity in Children: An Evidence Summary. Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/466334/Caries_obesity_Evidence_SummaryOCT2015FINAL.pdf [Last accessed September 20].