Reducing Obesity Rates in Young Children

When young children become overweight or obese it can affect them both emotionally and physically. Health issues such as mobility problems, asthma, poor sleep, and earlier instances of diabetes and heart disease can all be brought on by carrying excessive weight.

The New South Wales Government is aiming to reduce childhood overweight and obesity rates by 5 percentage points by 2025. Which will mean 62,000 more children in NSW will be of a healthy weight.

The government intends to achieve these goals with specialised programs to tackle childhood obesity, increasing community education and general awareness, and by focusing on healthy eating in childcare centres and school canteens.

At our Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare Centres in NSW, we believe that it is vital for preschool children to be eating healthy and nutritious meals while in our care.

Our centres only offer meals and snacks that meet the Australian dietary guidelines and include a variety of food groups rich in carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fat ratios to provide children with all the energy they need for their specific age group.

All of the centres have state-of-the-art play areas, which allow children to enjoy the importance of playtime whatever the weather, and we also plan cooking experiences and sports programs to teach children about healthy eating and physical fitness, while allowing them to be involved in fun hands-on activities.

At Cherry Bridge Station, we don’t just teach healthy habits to the children in our care, we hope to make a difference to our families and the wider communities in which we operate.

The NSW Government’s 8 for a Healthy Weight, consists of 8 tips & tricks for the whole family to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • Drink water instead of soft drinks or cordial.
  • Eat 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day.
  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Know your portion sizes.
  • Choose healthier snacks and fewer treats.
  • Be active for at least an hour every day.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Get enough sleep.

Renew Bariatrics have also recently compiled a useful infographic with their latest Australian obesity statistics and details on the national strategy moving forward, including key AMA recommendations.

These recommendations include key elements for tackling obesity in Australia, and some will be particularly helpful for families with young children who are hoping to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • Town planning to create healthy communities, including safe access to walking and cycle paths, parks, and other recreational spaces.
  • Ban targeted marketing of junk food to children.
  • Subsidise healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, to keep prices low, especially in remotes areas.
  • Easy to understand nutrition labelling for packaged foods.
  • Expansion of the Health Star Rating scheme.
  • Greater support health professionals to help patients lose weight.
  • Local community-based education and information programs and services.

Although some of these figures might be startling, we are certainly gaining a much better understanding of what we need to do to reduce childhood obesity and to adopt healthy habits for the family as a whole. Together we can all look forward to keeping an eye on the statistics as they reflect the positive changes we make as a healthier nation.