- Unfortunately, weight problems are very common among children in Australia. At least 1 in 4 school-aged children in Australia are overweight or obese.
- If you think that your child may have a weight problem, it is important that he or she is correctly assessed. Your local GP or paediatrician will be able to measure your child’s growth and work out if he or she is above their healthy weight.
- The main factors that can be controlled by a family are a child’s food intake, level of physical activity and amount of time spent on sedentary activities such as “screen time” (TV, ipad, computer, DVD, Xbox etc.).
Simple dietary changes that can be made include:
- Encourage water and limit the intake of all fruit juice, cordial and soft drink.
- Swapping all full cream dairy foods (milk, yoghurt, cheese) to low fat types for children over the age of two years.
- Eating breakfast each day.
- Sitting down to enjoy meals together as a family with the television switched off.
- Encourage vegetables and choose fruit as a snack
Simple changes to increase physical activity that can be made include:
- Limiting television viewing and screen time to less than 2 hrs. each day.
- Encouraging children to be active for at least 60 minutes each day.
- Including a daily family walk.
- Walking to and from school.
Services available to manage childhood weight problems in the community are limited. Some services available include:
General Paediatrician or Family General Practitioner: Support from your general paediatrician or local family doctor can be helpful for advice and monitoring of progress.
Private dietitian: Private dietitians can be found locally in the Yellow Pages or on the Dietitians Association Website. Members of private health funds may get some rebates after seeing a private dietitian.
Local hospital: Some hospitals have departments which will see children and adolescents for weight management. For more information on your local services contact your GP, local hospital or community health centre.
Go4Fun Program: a locally delivered program suitable for families of children 7-13 years of age. NSW Health is currently funding statewide delivery of the Go4Fun 7-13 Program.
Campbelltown Hospital: Child and Adolescent Outpatients Weight Management Service. A Paediatrician and Dietetic service. Campbelltown Hospital Phone. 4634 3000
The Children’s’ Hospital at Westmead FLIP Program (Families and Lifestyle In Partnership) for children less than 12 yrs: The child's family & caregivers are involved in a multidisciplinary approach to the weight management of a child who is well above the healthy weight range.
- Overweight and obesity are important issues in Australia.
- If you are worried that your child may have a weight problem, take them to your local GP or pediatrician for assessment