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Chubbiness is no child's play
For most adults and children, being obese and overweight results from an energy imbalance which occurs over time. This happens when the energy (calories) we consumed from food and drinks (known as energy INput) exceeds the energy (calories) used for daily activities (known as energy OUTput). This energy imbalance is a result of excessive intake of food and drink, especially those high in fat, sugar and salt, as well as reduced physical activity. Parents play an important role in shaping a healthy lifestyle and maintaining adequate energy balance for their children. Here are some tips to do just that.
Energy Input > Energy Output: Weight Gain
Energy Input < Energy Output: Weight Loss
Energy Input = Energy Output: Weight stays the same
Provide regular mealsEnsuring that children have regular meals will prevent them from over-eating at other times. Having breakfast is important as children tend to eat more to compensate for hunger later in the day if they skip breakfast.
Avoid stocking up on snacks which are high in fat, sugar and salt at home as this may encourage unhealthy snacking among childrenProvide healthier choices such as a fruit, carrot sticks, low-fat yoghurt or wholemeal sandwiches as alternative snacks.
Look out for the HCS symbol to help with your food choicesWhen buying food and drinks from the supermarket, look out for the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). These have less fat, salt and sugar compared to other similar products.
Avoid super-sized portions.Do not offer children adult portions. Instead give them what is required for each meal. For more information on the serving sizes children need, please visit
'Birth to Eighteen Years - Dietary Tips for your child's wellbeing'.
Give vegetables an interesting twist.Getting children to eat their greens may not always be easy. Try cutting vegetables into different shapes and sizes to make them more visually appealing. Use different vegetables to add colour to the food. Apart from vegetables, also remember to let children enjoy the goodness of a variety of fruits.
Engaging Children in an Active Lifestyle
As of Nov 2020, WHO recommends at least 180 minutes of physical activity per day for children 1 to 4 years while children and youth aged 5 to 17 years should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigourous ntensity physical activity per day.
Moderate-intensity activities are those which cause a slight increase in breathing and heart rate. Examples of these activities are brisk walking, cycling, swimming and dancing. The recommended daily duration of physical activity does not have to be fulfilled all at one go, but can be broken up into shorter periods of 10-15 minutes each time.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
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