This week the news has been full of stories about how a study says that working mums are more likely to have obese children than non working mums. Here is why I think this is nonsense and the real reason for those statistics in their findings.

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Becoming a mum

When we have a baby we imagine lots of things such as only feeding them organic food, not allowing them to have electronic toys and spending hours reading with them every night.

The reality is that we all do our best to make sure our children are the best they can be but life also gets in the way of these dreams. Money does not grow on trees and children are blooming hard work!

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The real reasons behind childhood obesity – my thoughts

Working hours

Working mums prioritise paying the bills and have to work so have less time to take kids to after school activities involving exercise. This is not their fault it is life. Would it be better for the kids to be more active but lose their home because the bills can not be paid? Many people need to work longer than school hours to make ends meet.

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Dads

Working dads are clearly nothing to do with it? Why are mums always to blame? If kids are obese how about we look at both parents and see if it could actually not just be the mother’s fault!

Cost

Unhealthy food is cheaper. Just because people are working does not mean they are better off than those who are not. Many working parents are struggling to make ends meet and the reality is a pack of cheap biscuits for an after school snack lasts the week and is a lot cheaper than a bag of apples.

apple in hand

Advertising

Parents are always to blame aren’t they. Well actually no sometimes the general society is to blame. Whilst I love that many supermarkets offer free fruit for children when shopping this is not enough. How many times do you see adverts for healthy foods? Not as often as you see them for the latest fast food offering I am sure.

Guilt

Think about this logically, you drop your child off with a childminder at 8am so you can get to work on time. Then you get back to collect them at 6pm with them having been fed tea by the childminder. After a few hours together you are putting them to bed hardly having seen them. When it comes to the weekend inevitably you will feel guilty. If your child asks for things then guilt takes over and you treat them to toys or junk food. This of course is a spiral of then needing to keep working to keep up with these costs.

A child asleep in bed

School Dinners

Are they always actually that healthy? Whether your child has a packed lunch or school dinners the chances are it is not that healthy. We give them plenty to make sure they are not hungry at school but then are we over feeding them. All children are different so a dinner given to a five year old being the same as a dinner being given to an 11 year old surely isn’t right either.

Healthy breakfast on the table close up

How can we really tackle childhood obesity?

I have talked about this before and I think there are a few simple steps we can take to ensure our children grow up as healthy as possible.

Give fruit as snacks when possible.

Make sure meals include vegetables, to save money they can be bought frozen or canned instead of fresh.

Reward with items other than food.

Make take away and meals out for celebrations only.

Chose leaner meats to make meals.

Make colourful meals seem fun so the more colour the healthier.

Encourage older children to help you cook.

Make no food out of bounds completely but limit quantity and frequency where you can of unhealthy foods.

Buy healthier cereals. Adding a small amount of sugar or fruit to sweeten a plain cereal is likely to be healthier than buying a cereal full of sugar. They are often cheaper too!

Do family exercise – it doesn’t have to be all going to the gym but a family walk when the weather is reasonable can make all the difference.

Lead by example, if you don’t eat vegetables don’t wonder why your children wont!

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More you may enjoy

To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets, exercises and lots more check out my comprehensive Weight Loss and Exercise section.

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