Step out with your kids to tackle obesity | Editorial

It’s a sad state of affairs, but probably not all that surprising, that our kids are falling well behind the eightball when it comes to physical activity.

The latest report card (2016) from Active Healthy Kids Australia has given our kids a D minus for their exercise efforts, against 37 other countries; behind places like Mozambique, Mexico and Ghana. 

Here, according to the report again, only something like 19 per cent of 5 to 17 year olds meet national physical activity guidelines, “which recommend 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day.”

In Slovenia, 86% of children met the same benchmark. 

We fared slightly better when it came to active transport options, such as walking or cycling to school instead of using motorised transport, scoring a C minus; but even that’s down from a C in 2015.

In Australia, 60 per cent of adults are overweight or obese – so we’re hardly setting a fine example.

It begs the question what are we doing wrong and how can we fix it?

We spend a lot of time these days talking about obesity, but what are we really doing to tackle the problem.

The latest conversation involves doctors calling for a fat tax and possibly higher health and life insurance premiums for people who are obese.

In the past there’s been talk of a sugar tax. But is a hip pocket hit really the way to go? 

Yes it would help to alleviate some of the ongoing costs of obesity to the health care system, which is a good thing because we all know it’s costing us a fortune. But might not a change in attitude do the same thing within a generation.

If we give our kids the tools they need for a healthy and productive life, isn’t that a better way to go? 

We are seeing some big changes in our schools; things like vegie gardens and healthy eating canteens are certainly a start, even if there’s still a long way to go.

Perhaps some basic cooking classes for all children would not go astray.

Time spent in the kitchen with mum or dad used to be ‘a thing’ – though not so much anymore.

Another pretty solid initiative is ‘Walk to school day’ – this Friday. If you can, why not walk your kids to school, or ride. In fact, why wait.

Because only by taking action can we solve the obesity crisis – literally. The time for conversation is over.