The Dangers of Childhood Obesity

gerhartThe problem of childhood obesity in South Africa is reaching epidemic proportions. It is estimated that 1 in 5 South African children is either overweight or obese, with 20% of children under the age of six being overweight. This is mainly due to poor diet and lack of exercise.

The modern South African lifestyle is a contributor to the problem of childhood obesity and being overweight. Safety issues often prevent children from playing outside, and where children used to walk or cycle to school, many are now dependent on public transport or lifts from their parents. Many children who live in high rise flats don’t have space to play and run around, and this problem is compounded by the fact that many schools have scrapped physical education and sport as part of the curriculum.

Furthermore, as is the case in many other parts of the world, children who play computer games or sit in front of the TV all day long don’t get any exercise and thus their bodies do not burn as much energy as they should. In addition to the lack of exercise that South African children are getting, many are also consuming highly processed foods either out of convenience or simply because their parents don’t know any better.

Between poor diet and a lack of exercise, it is no wonder that our children are becoming more and more prone to obesity. If children are exposed to energy-rich foods at every turn and do not have many opportunities to exercise, the inevitable result is an increase in body mass. Children who are obese are susceptible to developing illnesses such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, sleeping problems, breathing problems, bone conditions such as weakening of the hips, gastro-intestinal diseases, and even the early onset of puberty. There are also psychological implications to consider, with many obese children suffering from poor self esteem and depression.

If your child has become overweight or even obese, the sooner you do something about it, the easier it will be to resolve. There are a multitude of fad diets and pills on the market, but what is really necessary for sustainable weight loss is a healthy lifestyle change. The Diet Everyone Talks About is a ten-week dietary correction programme that has successfully been helping South Africans to lose weight for 17 years. The programme stimulates the body’s metabolism to ensure that the body burns excess fat rather than storing it, and can be tailored to suit anyone, including children. The fundamental goal of the program is a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained throughout life.

Ten year old Gerhardt van den Heever’s mother, Elna, became concerned. She began to notice that her son’s friends at school were all smaller than him. Realising that he was overweight she decided that they needed to take action. According to Elna, “Some people at work had been on The Diet Everyone Talks About and I was amazed with the results, so I went to a clinic that offers the programme and asked if it was safe for children. She said yes, and so I decided to give it a try.”

It turned out that Gerhardt was 12.5kg overweight, but over the 12 week period that he was on The Diet Everyone Talks About he lost all of his excess weight.
“Since losing the weight he’s very happy. He used to sit in front of the computer or the TV a lot, but now he plays outside a lot more, is a lot more active, and is playing with his friends more. He’s really a different child!”


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