Childhood obesity: fears for the future

When it comes to diets, I have to be honest, mine isn’t the healthiest. Yet whilst I am more than happy sat here eating my second bar of Galaxy, when it comes to my children, I want them to learn the importance of eating well and exercising as they grow, and in that way I need to lead by example.

As babies, all four of mine would eat whatever was laid out in front of them, weaning without difficulty, eating a range of foods and a reasonable amount of treats, but the older they get, the fussier they have become.

I have always been very careful about the words that we use to describe foods in our house. There are no “good” or “bad” foods, there are just healthier options and treats, something which causes us great difficulty at times as it seems that the youngest three especially are way more interested in the treats!

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about the ever growing childhood obesity crisis, and the statistics are shocking.

  • 19.1% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) are obese and a further 14.2% are overweight.
  • Of children in Reception (aged 4-5), 9.1% are obese and another 12.8% are overweight.
  • This means a third of 10-11 year-olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year-olds are overweight or obese.
 The UK’s growing obesity crisis means that by 2030
  • 74% of men in UK will be overweight.
  • 64% of women in UK will be overweight.
  • 36% of men and women in UK will be obese.

Statistics like this are such a concern, especially as a parent, and yet when I came across this free healthy living family pack which I was able to download and print off at home, I realised that there are lots of ways we can tackle this head on. Complete with family activity cards, a days out wish list, a daily chores calorie counter for parents, and a chore chooser star chart for children, the pack includes everything we need to get more active, eat healthier and ensure that our children do not add to these statistics in the coming years.

I also asked a group of bloggers for their top tips in preventing childhood obesity and to share the ways in which they encourage their children to make healthier choices and stay active as a family.

Hidden veg pasta sauce (baked beans, peas, butternut squash and any other veg you want to sneak in there!) all mixed together and blended to be poured over pasta. Plus plenty of outside walks to collect natural things to make into pictures when we get home.”

Vicki at Tippytupps

“We offer to take my Dads dog for a walk. We don’t have one so the kids see it as a novelty and a treat to take him out, which in turns gets us and the dog out exercising all whilst it being fun.”

Beth at Twinderelmo

“We took out an annual membership to our local WWT centre to encourage us all to get outside and walking more. As we have paid for a yearly membership it encourages us to go more!”

Jess at Tantrums to smiles.

“My husband took up running last year and has now got the kids involved too, he takes them to our local junior park run on a Sunday morning which they can do from 4 years old.”

Josie at Business for mums

“We have an allotment plot now so get lily involved in growing vegetables and fruit which has really helped. Also we go on a family walk pretty much every weekend which we try to make fun by involving activities, a treasure hunt or bingo.”

Alex at Better together home

“To ensure healthy eating I started to look at ways I could make food fun for my boy. That’s ultimately why I stared up my blog. For getting out and about we absolutely love geocaching, basically a huge treasure hunt!”

Emma at Me and B make tea

“Involving my son in choosing his food and giving him a choice of healthy options eg carrots or broccoli, and I make all chips myself with just potatoes and low calorie cooking spray.”

Jen at Just average Jen

Armed with these fantastic tips and aided by my healthly living pack, I am hoping that we can make 2017 a healthy one for all the family. I hope that you will join us!
My Petit Canard


  1. Jen
    February 9, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    I totally agree with the worry about children’s diets. We live in a modern world, but that has meant that food is so readily available, and often school children have money of their own and snack on foods on the way to and from school. I see children on a daily basis coming out of local shops, with large bags of sweets, or crisps. Cans of sugar laden drinks. And the awful truth that our local children often socialise at a certain fast food chain, where they drink milkshakes full of sugar and fat, pop and snack on fast food. Horrible really.
    Really important to teach our children about healthy foods, and why we need them. The ideas from the other parents are great.

    • Laura Dove
      February 9, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Yes I agree, my eldest is almost 13 and he and his friends tend to meet up with the other kids at those kinds of places. The good thing is that he is never still, plays football three times a week, out on his scooter, etc. I think as long as we keep active and limit those treats it all levels itself out. It’s worse with those children who sit on their computer consoles all day and night whilst eating crap, but again it’s very hard to monitor as they get older! xx

  2. February 9, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    Great message in this post. As parents we can help bring those statistics down. And I am a BIG fan of ‘hidden veg pasta sauce’. One thing I have always been terrible at is controlling portion size, but I have become really aware of that now I feed a little person with her life ahead of her. #StayClassyMama

    • Laura Dove
      February 9, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Me too!! I am guilty of piling things on our plates, I’ve down sized my dinner plates which really helped! xx

  3. February 9, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    I was made to finish everything on my plate when I was a child, which is why I feel I sometimes have a problem with my weight. As such, I always tell my kids to eat when they are full and then stop. Over eating – and overeating the wrong types of food can be really detrimental.

    • Laura Dove
      February 10, 2017 / 10:35 am

      I agree, although given the choice my children would stop eating after one mouthful! It’s difficult isn’t it, I had an eating disorder throughout my twenties and I am very conscious of not making an issue of food in our home. Keeping active is a great way to spend time together as a family though. xx

  4. February 9, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    Worrying stats. The family pack looks great and love the tips from other bloggers. Balance and variety is key but can be hard for fussy eaters. Getting kids moving lots is crucial too. We have tech limits here and very little sugar through the week.

    • Laura Dove
      February 10, 2017 / 10:33 am

      So worrying! Balance is everything, I try hard not to lay too much focus on it and sneak in ways to get them eating healthier. It isn’t always that easy though! xx

  5. February 10, 2017 / 7:44 am

    It is scary isn’t it. Isaac was deemed overweight when he started reception which I was upset about as he was a stocky child (like his dad) who fills out and then grows and slims again. Now, at age 8 he is a beanpole and is super fit as he swims 4 times a week

    • Laura Dove
      February 10, 2017 / 10:31 am

      Yes! Eva was weighed last month at school and I am fully expecting a letter through to say that she is overweight! It’s so hard as we don’t want to make a big deal of it but at the same time we need to keep them healthy and active! xx

  6. February 10, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    We try to eat healthily – luckily the kids are big fruit/veg and salad fans. But they also love burgers, spag bol, chicken nuggets….. sweets!!! All in moderation – I guess our saving grace is that I don’t drive so they walk two miles per day to school and back and are out walking most weekends. Sarah #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      I think it’s all about finding the right balance isn’t it? xx

  7. February 10, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    It is hard to fight this epidemic! Because it’s not just what you do at home, but what is out there in the schools and such!!
    My mom was a home ec teacher, and I think it helped that she ate lots of veggies and fruits. Even though there was cheese sauce on the veggies—at least she got me to eat them!

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      I completely agree. My daughter comes home from school each day and tells me that she has had cookie and cake for her dessert at school!! xx

  8. February 10, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    I agree, my diet is not the best. I love sugar and am really trying to change this. When it comes to my kids though I do watch what they eat and make them do a little exercise each day. These are worrying stat aren’t they 🙁

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:17 pm

      So worrying! I eat way worse than the kids do, I need to address my sugar addiction too! xx

  9. February 10, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    I grew up in a family where dinner was always round the table every night and I think it stood me in good stead for the rest of my life!

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:16 pm

      Yes I agree, we try to make meal times a family occasion where we all sit down and enjoy it together. It is difficult some nights when my husband is working late or the kids have football or other clubs on, but it’s something I try really hard to do! xx

  10. February 10, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    I totally agree with all of this – I feel like sugar has crawled into everything and even though I watch what my daughter eats like a hawk it’s so hard to control what goes on in the outside world.

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:15 pm

      I agree, especially at school! Eva comes home and tells me every single day that they have had cake or cookie as dessert for dinner. It’s crazy because if I sent her with a packed lunch they say no cake or cookies allowed?! xx

  11. February 10, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    I try to ensure a balance with what my little ones eat, but I mainly try and focus on being active, trying to ensure that we do lots of sport and get out and about lots. I’m hoping they will stick with that mentality as they grow up!

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      I agree, keeping active means that we can enjoy our treats and keep healthy, I would much rather put the emphasis on exercise than food! xx

  12. February 11, 2017 / 9:50 am

    The stats are pretty shocking and forces many of us do make smaller but healthier options. As a child in Zambia my mum always made us eat our veg first and meat was a treat which worked wonders and now we can’t eat our meals without veggies

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      That’s so interesting, I think most children leave their veg until the last and then try to get away with leaving them! I always ate mine first just to get them out of the way so I could enjoy the rest of my meal, I still do that now! xx

  13. February 11, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Great post. I’m really worried about this. The statistics are terrifying. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Aren’t they? I was shocked at the statistics, really made me sit up and realise how important it is to be healthy! xx

  14. February 13, 2017 / 11:02 am

    My daughter loves all types of food which is great, we have no problems with her eating healthily, plus she comes to the gym and swimming with me too. I have told her it is not about being skinny, it is about being healthy.

    • Laura Dove
      February 13, 2017 / 11:30 am

      That’s great. I think focus should definitely be on health and not body image! xx

  15. February 13, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    Wow those figures are shocking! We are so healthy in our house. I have the occasional treat of one too many chocolate bars and I’m prone to a bottle of wine, but we’ve tried so hard with our daughter. We make exercise a part of everyday too, either outdoor family fun, or at home we do 10 minutes of exercising. My daughter loves jumping jacks. I love your list of what everyone else tries to do. Sneaking veg into pasta is brilliant! x

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2017 / 9:54 am

      I think staying active is the most important part isn’t it? I much prefer to focus on health than body image, and thankfully my children love being outdoors and my eldest is never still! xx

  16. February 13, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    Totally agree with this post – brilliantly written and a very worthwhile and important topic. #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2017 / 9:54 am

      Thank you Chloe. xx

  17. February 14, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    Wow, those statistics really are frightening… I’ve always worried about my children’s diets-they both became fussy really early on. We did reach a kind of ‘crisis’ point where they would only eat treat type foods, but we seem to have come out the other side. They accept my hidden veg sauces now, and have just started eating broccoli and sweet corn…! I think that I’ll just keep educating them, and hopefully they will learn to make the right choices, once they’re older!! I hope!!

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2017 / 2:27 pm

      I agree, they are scary! My youngest three are very fussy eaters, it’s so hard when all they want are treats! Luckily my kids go crazy for broccoli so if nothing else they will devour a plate of it like it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten! xx

  18. February 14, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    I have always encouraged my teens to enjoy everything in moderation. They both enjoy vegetables and always have so that has never been an issue in our house. I worry mostly about the amount of sugar they consume particularly my daughter whose father is diabetic, however, I have found that they are good at exercising self-control over treats particularly as they learn more about good nutrition at school as well. They both exercise regularly too which is undoubtedly a big part of the battle. However, I am also conscious of not banning foods as we know of someone locally who is battling anorexia as a result of cutting out foods and having seen the heartbreak her family has experienced as a result, I don’t want them to get hung up on “bad” foods. Great post with some fab tips. #bigpinklink

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2017 / 2:26 pm

      I agree, “bad foods” portrays the wrong message to impressionable minds, we just refer to less healthy food as treats and they know that they can’t have them all the time but when they do, it’s absolutely fine. Keeping active and exercising often is so important, we try to get out every day just for a walk or a run around in the park. If nothing else it tires them out! xx

  19. February 14, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    Great tips here. I like that you get kids involves in choosing their own meals. Fab tips! The Family pack looks great too! Thank you Laura for sharing with us on #FabFridayPost Together we can fight this! xx

    • Laura Dove
      February 15, 2017 / 4:52 pm

      Thanks Su, scary statistics aren’t they! xx

  20. February 15, 2017 / 6:23 am

    Great tips. My son went through a stage of being really fussy but he’s actually a great eater now and loves going on bike rides with his dad too. My daughter is the difficult one as she won’t eat fruit or veg (except banana, mushy peas and spinach if it’s in a curry). She’s only two though so I’m hoping she grow out of it. Having two dogs to walk every day keeps us active too.

    • Laura Dove
      February 15, 2017 / 4:44 pm

      Ah yes mine are in the fussy stage at the moment. Thankfully they LOVE broccoli, and even though its the only vegetable they willingly eat, they’ll eat a whole plate of it! xx

  21. Mackenzie Glanville
    February 15, 2017 / 8:55 am

    So important to keep them healthy both physically and mentally. I think our attitudes towards health, food and exercise will be the biggest influence. If we have a positive outlook about food and exercise they are more likely too also. Great post #mg

    • Laura Dove
      February 15, 2017 / 4:43 pm

      I agree, the responsibility is all on us. I try very hard to instil healthy values in the children without worrying them too much about it! xx

  22. February 16, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    This is why I need to get a dog! Haha (any excuse for me to get a dog lol). It’s so scary how the obesity rate is increasing so quickly, hopefully food companies will start to jump on board the healthy wagon, joining all the gluten free restaurants and wheatgrass bars that are popping up. I like how you say treats and more healthy food, when my son is older I want to do the same! Thanks for sharing with #stayclassymama!

    • Laura Dove
      February 17, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Get a dog!!! We have a dog although he is actually quite lazy, haha! I think keeping active, making sensible choices and just encouraging the children to eat a varied diet is about the best we can do! xx

  23. February 16, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    This is something that we need to tackle head on, and I’m really conscious that I am giving my daughter a balanced diet especially at the weekends and on Monday when she’s not at nursery. I do give the odd treat every now and again, which is good, but most of the time I trying to get as many vegetables and fruit into her. I wish for myself that I could do better with food, but at the end of a long day at work sometimes it’s easier to stick pizza and chips in the oven. Although so far this year we have resisted getting a takeaway…….however it is Friday tomorrow. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • Laura Dove
      February 17, 2017 / 12:49 pm

      Oh wow go you on no takeaways! I look forward to mine on a Friday night but I think it’s all about finding the right balance. If you eat as well as possible 90% of the time, we can indulge 10% of the time. I’m probably more like 50/50 at the moment, I really need to address that! xx

  24. February 19, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    I try and work on the assumption that a little of what I fancy is okay, but too much of anything is a bad thing. I need to strike a better balance too as I want the Tubblet to have good habits

    • Laura Dove
      February 20, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Me too, it’s impossible to eat well all the time but we try to do 90:10 where possible! xx

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