National Obesity Week

National Obesity Week

“All together now: Top tips to fight obesity in the family”

“Probably the most influential people in a child’s life when it comes to physical activity are the parents, simply because of the amount of time the family spends together,” says Professor Greg Whyte, physical activity expert and former Olympian.

“That gives mums and dads a big responsibility, but it’s not about being a pushy parent or a ‘tiger mother’ – it’s simply about leading by example. If you want your children to be active, you have to be active yourself. You can’t tell them, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ It has to be, ‘Do as I do.’”

Once again it is up to us, as parents, to put that right. “We can lay the blame on computer games and TV, but children are innately active,” explains Greg Whyte.

“What they will do, however, is respond to their environment, so if you do nothing with your children they will migrate to the screen. We might blame technology but that’s not the root of the problem. The problem is that we’re not engaging with our children.”

The good news,” says Greg Whyte, “is that physical activity is fundamentally free. It’s important to break out of the stereotype where exercise means joining a gym because it’s actually much broader than that. I’ve got three relatively young children and the things they love best are invariably the things that cost nothing, such as going for a family bike ride.”

Whyte also recommends thinking outside the box because novelty is an effective incentive. “Keep trying new activities when you can,” he suggests. “One of the things we know is very motivating is learning new skills. When you feel that satisfaction, it encourages you to engage in it more.”

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