One of the most important things for growing bodies and minds is ensuring they have the right sort of activity throughout their days, with the right sort of fuel to get them through those activities.

In Australia, it is estimated that between 20% to 25% of all children and adolescents are overweight[1], and two out of three Australian adults were overweight or obese[2] – to not put an emphasis on this alarming fact is no longer an option.

Being overweight not only has long-lasting health effects on individuals but in formative years, such as pre-school age, it can create a range of issues such as the inability to actively participate in sports & activities, mental health issues and an increased risk of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes.

However, it is not all doom and gloom; you can start your child off in life in the best way possible way by creating positive habits in their early years. Through actively engaging in extracurricular sports, swimming and play right through to promoting healthy food options.

Move and play every day

One of the benefits of sending your child to early learning centres, is they are actively encouraged to be involved in physical activity, play & games, not to mention eating healthy snacks such as fruit vegetables and proteins.

The Australian Government has created a range of documents to assist parents to help their children’s development, health & wellbeing all in one, such as the Move and Play Every Day, National Physical Activity program which has recommendations for children aged 0 – 5.

These fact sheets show that through simple processes, such as putting toys just out of reach forcing your infant to move for the toys, through to playing music to encourage movement and making your child’s bedrooms computer and TV-free you can encourage your child to move and embrace an active life.

We are what we eat

Today’s supermarkets are a minefield, with many processed foods that appear healthy on the surface, but are filled with sugars and additives that make them the complete opposite. However, busy our lifestyles may be, we need to ensure the health & wellbeing of our family first and foremost.

A few quick tips to ensure your children living an active and healthy life:

  • Eat clean: Try to make things from scratch as much as possible, cut fruit, vegetables and complex grains – such as whole grains and add to your child’s daily diet.
  • Try new things: Introduce new & healthy items to your children’s diet – fish including salmon is high in omega 3 and a great option. Vegetables should be introduced slowly to encourage trying new things and exploring new additions to your child’s diet.
  • Make eating fun: One of the cardinal mistakes we all make is trying to force our children to eat things they simply don’t like. By introducing healthy items as a game or as something fun, children will be far more open to trying new things. Avoid the old ‘you’ll sit here until you finish your dinner’ line and embrace a fun and enjoyable mealtime experience that is enjoyed by all family members.
  • Persevere with healthy eating: We need to ensure we stick at it, don’t get lazy and your kids will be asking for the cucumber sticks, not the chips! If you make healthy eating a part of your life and not just a fad your children will embrace the routine and enjoy the experience.

There are some fantastic resources for child care and school-aged children’s lunch boxes here. For school-aged children, the Healthy Active Kids program in Victorian schools is also a great resource for teachers, families and kids.

The health and well being of your child is paramount and with a few small tweaks to your family meal plan and lifestyle, you can help your little ones avoid the threat of obesity and enjoy an active life.

For more information on the infant & child health and wellbeing or you wish to understand more about the services available in our community, please contact the team at Village Education today on 1300 017 005 or visit our website https://villageeducation.com.au.

[1] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/obesity-in-children

[2] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/overview