Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fat Fears

I was reading an article in The Week about childhood obesity. It's a popular and current topic in the UK, where the government are heading all sorts of campaigns to prevent and remedy it. It's important for it to be addressed here in Oman too, which is why I liked the article (although I was a bit shocked that they used the term 'little roly poly' to describe an obese child). It is true that lifestyle is a big factor. We are no longer in an age where most people's livelihoods are made through physical labour. Things are particularly relaxed in Oman where so many families have maids and children aren't expected to help a great deal around the house, particularly boys (I'm generalising here so no offense intended). Put it this way, I don't see many fat maids. Diet is also an obvious factor and a lot of that could be dealt with by educating people about nutrition.
Also, from what I've heard I don't think sport is greatly encouraged as an activity, especially for girls. This is such a shame, I think it's important for every child to be encouraged to participate in some type of energetic extra-curricular activity, whether its football or dance or just walking. Exercise is not only good for your physical health but is also a great tool for de-stressing, confidence building, co-ordination and social interaction.
What is perhaps not pushed enough is that so many health problems are related to obesity, which can have really damaging effects in later life. And once a person becomes overweight it becomes harder to get back to good health. Getting your body accustomed to healthy eating and exercise from a young age will set you up for later, when you will need it most.