Parents urged to turn homes into junk food-free zones

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South African childhood obesity rates are growing faster than those in the United States. This is according to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The paper focuses on the recent rate of change of the body-mass index among children, adolescents and young adults. It shows that there’s been a rapid increase in the weight of children aged eight to 10 from middle income families, mostly in urban areas.

Parents have been advised to take drastic measures to change eating habits at home to encourage young ones to adopt healthy lifestyles.

University of Cape Town division of human nutrition’s Gabrielle Eksteen says: “The picture unfortunately is quite dire in the sense that our obesity figures are increasing and they are definitely increasing more rapidly than we see in other countries particularly developing countries worldwide. So if we don’t do anything about it, some recent figures have shown that obesity will continue to escalate in children in SA which obviously means that the consequences of that means earlier heart disease, developing of type 2 diabetes, cancers etc … will also increase and will have a devastating effect on the next generation.”

Founder and CEO of FitChef Wayne Kaminsky wants parents to turn their homes into junk-free zones to save their children from obesity.

He says: “The problem is for kids who are obese or overweight it’s pretty unlikely that they will change as they become adults. One of the biggest things you can do is if you don’t buy junk food at home, the kids can’t eat junk food at home, so that’s one of the biggest things you can do as a parent.”

“Rather if you wanna treat somebody go out, get to the shops, go and buy a good cake or something outside but don’t bring the junk food home. Home should be a place where you have good quality nutrient rich food,” adds Kaminsky.