Ways​ ​to​ ​control​ ​student​ ​obesity

Growing problem in the Emirates

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the Emirates. Studies show that over 36% of the kids in UAE are obese, thanks to the era of digital world. Not that this world is completely bad for kids, it has its own positive sides too, but the sad part is that the kids are spending too much time sitting idle or involved in computer gaming.

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Kids spend most of their childhood in schools and that’s where they learn not just the academics but also a lot about their habits, interests and manners – that’s where the foundation for lifelong habits is laid. There’s no where except their homes and schools that has a better opportunity to make them understand and improve their child’s health and address the real issue of obesity. It’s the duty of parents and teachers to check it in childhood, to grow them into healthier adults. It is always advisable to be wary about obesity from early days.

Never​ ​skip​ ​breakfast

For one, eating less and starving is NOT the way to tackle obesity. And to talk about skipping breakfast, well, there’s no say in it! Highly trained and experienced professionals at Difit help kids realize the importance of each meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast helps the kid consume fewer calories for the day.

Say​ ​YES​ ​to​ ​high​ ​fibre

Dress a bowl of brown rice with sautéed colourful veggies and chickpeas and pack it for your kid’s lunch. (He wouldn’t want another meal until dinner!) The natural sources of dietary fibres in wholegrains, chickpeas and beans digest slowly and provide nutrients such as magnesium and Vit B6.

​Remove​ ​temptations​ ​that​ ​are​ ​calorie-rich

Help kids REDUCE their calorie-rich temptations such as salty snacks, avocados, dried fruits and nuts and chocolates. Obese kids have high risk of BP, Cholesterol and diabetics. Make them crave for colourful low-fat, low sugar-treats such as apples, banana, blueberries, grapes, or a cup of carrots, broccoli, bell pepper with 2 tbsp of hummus.

​Help​ ​kids​ ​stay​ ​active

Controlling food habits alone is not enough. To balance calories, kids must also engage in an appropriate amount of physical activity and avoid idleness. Make playing out and exercising a fun business and make them practice it almost daily. Jumping rope, playing tag, soccer, swimming, dancing and even brisk walks can do wonders. This seems a tough task for kids in the Emirates, as the weather is almost always extreme for even the adults to go out for a walk. That’s where Difit comes in handy. We cover all aspects of physical fitness such as swimming, karate, sports training etc. and mental fitness such as stress management.

​Reduce​ ​inactive​ ​time

While encouraging for more activities, parents and teachers note that the weather in UAE is not that suitable for outdoor activities all the time. That’s why our kids spend ample time indoors, playing video games, surfing the web or watching television. Though time spent for reading and doing homework is fine, other sedentary time should be limited to maximum 1 hour per day. Let them find fun activities to do with families or friends, or even on their own.

​Ban​ ​eating​ ​out!

Even a single snack of french fries and aerated soft drink can together contribute atleast 650 calories . Kids just can’t resist eating out as they find it fancier and tastier than the healthy home-cooked foods! Eating out is fine as long as they choose lower-calorie foods such as salads and fresh juices, but high-calorie options like nuggets, french fries and soft drinks are a strict NO.

​Promote​ ​a​ ​healthy​ ​lifestyle

It’s in the hands of the elders that kids learn about being healthy. Provide them with healthy snacks, nutrition education and encourage physical activities. Rather than focusing on shedding weight, emphasize on the above and the need to be healthy throughout their life. Encourage the overweight kids to involve with the whole family, gradually changing their eating habits and physical activities - and never set them apart.

Considering the fact that kids are the coming generation that will decide the prosperity of our country and that students consume around half their daily calories at school, all the schools in UAE has banned some unhealthy foods and drinks in their canteens and encourage their students to follow healthy eating habits. The following are the list of food items banned in schools, as per a 2011 guideline.

  1. All kinds of soft drinks
  2. Energy drinks
  3. All types of fruit drinks
  4. Milk and yogurt with synthetic flavors
  5. All types of chewing gum and candies
  6. Bofak (special type of chips)
  7. Sweets composed of excessive sugar and colorants
  8. Plain chocolate
  9. Food items containing monosodium glutamate (found naturally in tomatoes, cheese and other foods. MSG is used in the food industry as a flavor enhancer)
  10. High-fat food
  11. Chips
Most fitness centers focus on the fitness of adults. Difit have special physical training programmes for kids aged 6 – 18 years. Through interactive gaming workout, we provide personal one-on-one training for each kid to challenge themselves and keep them motivated. In a way, we are contributing a next generation of healthy adults to the nation.