Back to School

Back to School with a bronze medal in… childhood obesity!

Yes, you heard right. Our Greece, the birthplace of the Mediterranean Diet but also of the science of Nutrition in general, is the Third country with the highest rates of overweight and childhood obesity in Europe. In a recent study, the World Health Organization reports that 42% of boys and 38% of girls in Greece are overweight while 1 in 5 children appear to be obese!

These percentages are very disappointing considering Greece’s global supply of food. Our children enjoy eating fast food and they also have increased rates of hours of viewing on screens such as tablets, computers and television. These two work together in their positive energy balance and therefore in increasing their weight. That is, the calories they consume are much more than they expend.

How long should I allow my child to use a mobile-tablet-PC-TV?

The answer to this very topical question of the 21st century was given in 2019 by the World Health Organization. Specifically, the answer is not at all. Especially for children under two years. For older children, viewing the screen should not exceed one hour per day.

The reduction in physical activity that results from these electronic devices, contributes and increases their weight gain, reduced self-esteem and of course the disturbed body image. The result of all this is their poor psychological condition and the increased possibility of falling victim to ridiculous comments about their weight (Bullying).

Animation and the effect on eating habits

 The subject of my dissertation at Harokopio University is this subject. The answer is that children are quite prone to eating high-calorie junk food during children’s series. The frequency increases especially if the hero consumes this kind of snack! So the children somehow imitate their favorite heroes!

What can we do about physical activity?

Now with the start of the school year, children can get into a program much more easily! Both diet and exercise! What is recommended is the choice of exercise suitable for each child. It would be good to ask the child what he would like to do. If the child is very sociable a good solution would be team sports and activities while if it is more closed character solitary sport. Anyway, he has to try to find out for himself what suits him!

With diet?

There are many factors that affect children’s eating habits. Age plays an important role. For example, a young child imitates the habits of his parents to a greater extent than an older child-adolescent. In the latter, peers have the greatest influence.

What parents can do is first talk to their children in a calm atmosphere and, of course, set a good example.

In addition, it would be good to have meals at home at specific times. The family table is very important. Meals should be eaten in it, and not in front of the TV. If your child does not eat vegetables or certain foods , ask him to “help” you prepare. For example, to wash the vegetables, or to put them on the plate. So he feels he did something important and most likely wants to try it!

Lunch at school

The “breakfast” is good to contain foods such as: fruit, total carbohydrates for energy, nuts and protein. More specifically:

  • Toast with cheese and turkey + vegetables + 1 fruit

  • 1 Wholemeal bun + 1 egg + 1 glass of 100% juice
  • Egg slices in the toaster + 1 fruit
  • 1 banana + 1 handful of nuts
  • Homemade cake with fruit