1 in 6 children Obese

Heart's found out one in six 10 and 11 year old's are being classed as obese in part of the Thames Valley.

We've got hold of figures after 11,500 thousand children were checked in Oxfordshire this year but number's have dropped slightly on those in 2008.  7.9 % of Reception age children in Oxfordshire are obese.  In urban areas like Oxford, rates of obesity were highest.

The figure is still less than the national average where 18.7% of year 6 children are obese and 10% of Reception age children.

In Berkshire the number of obese children in Year 6 and Reception is slightly higher than in Oxfordshire but still below National Average, with 16.3% in Year 6 and 9% of Reception age children.

They told Heart:

"Childhood obesity is a priority for NHS Berkshire West which we are committed to tackling. It is an extremely complex issue and the high rates of obesity that we see in children are often related to lifestyle.

To continue the focus on this important area, we are holding two training days this month to raise awareness among professionals working with children of the issues involved when dealing with obese or overweight children. We then plan to introduce a new programme in April to help children lose weight and be more physically active, in a fun and interactive way. 

A respected food and health advisor will run two focus groups with children and parents next month to highlight the sort of initiatives they would like to see introduced into the new programme.

In addition, we fund in partnership with Reading Council, a successful programme with ten primary schools in Reading that is helping children to eat more healthily. So that we can help influence the range of foods on offer to people we launched the Berkshire Food Group in November. It is made up of a range of organisations and aims to influence local producers and retailers."

Meanwhile, NHS Oxfordshire say they're the drop in numbers show theire health campaign's working. They gave Heart listeners these top tips for healthier kids:

1. Sugar swaps

Swapping sugary snacks and drinks for ones that are lower in sugar can make a huge difference to kids’ calorie intake. Not only that, but it’s better for their teeth too. Here are a few ideas on what to swap:
Swap to water, semi-skimmed milk (but remember children under 2 need full-fat milk) or diluted fresh fruit juice instead of drinks with added sugar like cola or squash.

Switch to snacks like fresh or dried fruit, breadsticks and unsalted nuts instead of sweets or biscuits.

Swap to lower sugar cereals, fruit or toast instead of cereals with lots of sugar.

2. Meal time

It’s important for kids to have regular, proper meals as growing bodies respond better to routine.

Try to organise the day around three regular mealtimes – it’s easier to keep kids from pestering for snacks if they know when their next meal is coming!

Eat together whenever you can. Kids copy parents, brothers, sisters and friends – so when they see other people happily eating lots of different, healthy foods, they’ll follow suit.

They call breakfast the most important meal of the day and it’s certainly a great way to give kids the energy they need to give it a kick start, so don’t let them skip breakfast. Try low sugar cereals or toast, and if you add chopped fruit or a glass of unsweetened fruit juice then that counts toward their 5 A DAY too!

3. Me size meals

Even though they’re growing, it’s important to make sure kids get just the right amount for their age – not too little and not too much. So here are a few tips to make sure they’re getting the right sized portions.

Remember that kids are smaller than adults. It sounds obvious, but an adult tummy is much bigger than a kid’s tummy – so try and give them a portion that matches their size and not the same amount of food as you.

It’s also healthier to give a smaller portion to begin with, then let them ask for more if they’re still hungry. And try not to nag them to ‘eat it all up’ if they’re full.

Watch packaging sizes. Lots of foods and drinks, like cans of pop, are designed for adults or for sharing.

4. Snack check

Many snacks are full of the things that are bad for us – sugar, salt, fat and calories. So try and keep a careful eye on how many the kids are having. These tips might help keep the snack attacks at bay.

Keep count. Many people are surprised when they actually count up how many sweets, crisps, and biscuits they get through.

Keep count and you’re more likely to cut down – which is good for your kids and for your purse too.

Don’t forget that it is sometimes kinder to say no. We all love to give our kids what they want, but try to find different ways to reward them.

5. 5 A DAY

It’s easier than you think to give your kids five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. For kids, one portion is roughly a handful. Here are a couple of ideas on getting some good things into them:

Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables count too. And it only takes a couple of minutes to boil some frozen peas or open a can of sweetcorn.

Get them to drink a portion. One glass of unsweetened fruit juice or one smoothie a day count as one of the five.

A piece of fruit or vegetable can help cheer up a lunchbox. Try carrot sticks, baby tomatoes or a banana with a face drawn on the skin.

6. Cut back fat

We all know too much fat is bad for us. But it’s not always easy to tell where it’s lurking. Here are a few fat-busting tips:

Cut down on snack foods as they’re often jam-packed with fat. Try and keep foods like crisps, buns, cakes, pastries and biscuits as occasional treats only.

Grilling or baking food in the oven rather than frying it on the cooker can reduce the fat content by as much as two-thirds.

Literally cut the fat. Trim off any fat you can see from meat before you cook it, and skin chicken and turkey first. Draining off the fat after cooking will also help.

7. 60 active minutes

Kids need to do at least 60 minutes of activity a day to help them stay happy and healthy. But it doesn’t have to be sport – running around and having fun outside count too.

Get them off the bus and out of the car – if it’s walkable, walk it.

Clock up 60 minutes’ worth of active play each day after school and at weekends – this includes running around, going to playgrounds and kids’ outdoor games. And it’s all free!

Get them splashing about. Whether it’s lengths of the pool, or just playing about in the shallow end, a trip to the pool is a great.

8. Up and about

The way life is today means that most of us spend too long sitting down doing nothing. Not being active means our bodies don’t burn off enough fat, which leads to it storing up inside.

‘2 hours max’: You may find it helpful to set a limit to how long your children can sit still in front of the TV, computer or video game. Some families have found saying ‘2 hours max’ of screen time each day helps them to make sure kids jump up and play, or go outside after they’ve been sitting still for a while.

Get them running around after school. We tend to think that they get loads of exercise at school, but they still need to be active out of school hours too.

Get them up and about after eating, instead of plonking down on the sofa. Moving around helps

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