Here at GymPro you know we take your health seriously. Not only did we release previously, ‘ Want To Live Forever,’ covering our health as we get older, but now we turn our attentions to the importance of health in our youth and more importantly, children.
We have now launched our brand new and exclusive, GymPro Kids and Baby GymPro ranges. We want to use these launches to encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle for our children and shed some light on the ever-prevalent stigma of ‘child obesity’.
Childhood obesity is associated with various health conditions, including asthma, early onset type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors. Children who are obese are also more likely to suffer from mental health and behavioural problems. In addition, being an obese child can have long-term health consequences, as childhood obesity is a strong predictor of adult obesity.
So is it getting worse or better? Well, in our youth, teenagers aged 16 and over its sadly still increasing! Even with all of today's readily available information and nutritional guidelines, obesity in teenagers aged 16 and over has risen sharply from 14.9% in 1993 to 28.7% in 2017.
Even among younger children, the rates of obesity are shocking, with one in ten Reception-age children (aged four to five years old) classed as obese. If overweight children are also included, which is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile, the figures show that around one in three children are overweight or obese – that’s over four million children. Research suggests that if this is left untreated, up to 85% of these children will become obese as adults.
So what is causing it? Well there’s a number of factors that may be contributing to these figures. Our children’s lifestyles are changing and access to fast, relatively unhealthy food options are ever-present and marketed cleverly to both parents and children. Add this to both parents working full-time jobs and less home-cooked meals and it's easy to see it building up over time.
Keeping our children active is also becoming more and more challenging. With the thriving gaming industry providing more and more realistic and interactive experiences, combined with a massive increase in youtube viewing, this can soon add up to more than 5-6 hours a day of sedentary activity.
But the evidence and the information is abundantly clear.
"Limiting children's screen time linked to better cognition," reports BBC News.
A study of 4,524 children in the US found those who used screens recreationally for less than 2 hours a day did better on tests of mental functioning. The study was designed to assess whether Canadian recommendations on screen time, sleep and physical activity for children aged 8 to 11 were linked to better mental function, which was assessed using a series of tests.
The recommendations are:
- Restrict screen time (including TV, smartphones, tablets and video games) to less than 2 hours a day
- Sleep 9 to 11 hours a night
- Do at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day
- The children who did best on testing were those who followed all 3 recommendations.
But only 5% of children met all 3 recommendations, which could reduce the strength of the association. And we can't be sure that meeting the recommendations was the cause of the improved test performance. Screen time and sleep accounted for around 22% of the variation between test results, while physical activity alone didn't seem to be linked to mental functioning. Other differences, such as children's school grade and ethnic background, were also strongly linked to test results.
The researchers say parents should consider limiting screen time and ensuring adequate regular sleep for children, as well as encouraging physical activity.
Here at GymPro, we know that when we feel good we’re more likely to participate and be encouraged to stay active. The sports clothing we wear can have a huge impact on the way we identify ourselves and our children behave in the same way. So let's celebrate being healthy throughout our life. We all want the very best start for our children and more importantly the very best health for them. We hope to inspire families with our designs and materials to be more active together.