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Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 9221 0090

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:: In Brief

 

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:: Weight Management

Healthy Children & Teens - Weight Management and Obesity
  Healthy Children & Teens
  Weight Management & Obesity

Weight management means achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. Your body weight can affect your health in many ways.

Most people tend to be overweight, rather than underweight.  Being overweight can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.

Being a healthy weight reduces your risk of these problems. It can make you feel healthier and better about yourself.

What is Childhood Obesity?

Overweight and obesity is a serious, chronic medical condition, which is associated with a wide range of debilitating and life threatening conditions. Large increases in obesity rates among Australians have the potential to erode many recent health gains. Recent studies estimate that 67% of Australian men and 52% of Australian women, aged 25 years and over, are overweight or obese. Over the last 20 years, rates of obesity in children have risen greatly in many countries around the world, leading some researchers to speak of an 'international epidemic of childhood obesity'.

How do I know if I am obese?

Doctors and other health care professionals are the best people to determine whether a child or adolescent's weight is healthy, and they can assist in ruling-out rare medical conditions as the cause of unhealthy weight.

A Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated from measurements of height and weight . A child is seen to be obese if his/her BMI exceeds the cut-off point for his/her age. Growth charts, such as weight-for-age and weight-for-height, are also used to determine if children are overweight or obese.

Doctors and other health professionals also consider a child's age and growth patterns to determine whether his or her weight is healthy.

Use the Adult BMI Calculator below to work out your Body Mass Index.

What causes Childhood Obesity?

Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents is generally caused by lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of the two, with genetics and lifestyle both playing important roles in determining a child's weight.

Overweight and obesity is related to technological, social, economic and environmental changes that have reduced physical activity and increased food access and passive energy consumption.

Increases in sedentary activities (eg TV, video games), use of the motor car for transport, decreases in physical activity, and an increase in the consumption of high fat and high energy foods are likely to be foremost among the causes of the current epidemic.
 

What can I do to improve my weight management?

Two steps to maintaining a healthy weight:

Step 1 - Follow a healthy eating plan by:
 

  • eating a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables (including legumes), bread (especially wholegrain), rice, pasta and other grain products
  • eating moderate amounts of fish, lean meat, poultry and reduced-fat dairy products
  • limiting fat intake, especially saturated fat in animal products
  • increasing dietary fibre, which is found in plant foods only
  • Keep alcohol intake to a minimum. It is recommended that women should drink no more than two standard drinks a day and men, no more than four standard drinks a day. It is also recommended that you have at least two alcohol-free days each week

Healthy eating is just as important if you are underweight. If you are looking to increase your body weight you should consult a dietitian. If you have experienced unexplained weight loss, you should consult your local general practitioner.

Step 2 - Regular physical activity:
 

  • Medical experts recommend that to maintain your health and weight you should do 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. This can be accumulated by doing 10 minute bouts of exercise. Remember you only have to take it regularly not seriously. This can include walking, swimming, dancing and gardening.

Further Information:

Weight Management Council of Australia - www.weightcouncil.org
Heart Foundation (Australia) - www.heartfoundation.com.au

Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • help with weight management
  • how to determine if your child or teenager is overweight 

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