“Fat Children Should Be Taken Into Care”
In response to the article in the Daily Mail today, where Dr. David Ludwig of the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital states that, "Fat children should be taken into care.”
Parents taking responsibility is something founders, Sunny Moran and Jacqui Cleaver from New You Boot Camp, Europe’s leading weight loss & fitness boot camp feel very strongly about.
A message from the founders, in response to Dr. David Ludwig suggestion, “Fat children should be taken into care.”
This is NOT the answer. Ever since we set up New You Boot Camp in 2007 we have wanted to develop a unique ’Parent & Child’ boot camp, specifically designed to tackle this problem and help beat childhood overweight issues which can lead to obesity.
There are other boot camps out there that are just for obese children, but personally we feel this is a cop out and we are not afraid to tell parents who ring us and beg us to send their child to our boot camps.
Simply sending your child to a weight-loss boot camps for children, where they attend on their own, will only lead to temporary weight-loss. As soon as they return to the family home, they resume eating as they did before and would put the weight back on, undoing all the work achieved at a boot camp. This could have a very destructive effect on the child.
It’s time for the parents to wake up. It’s not the child that buys the food at home . . . it’s the parents! It’s the not the child that packs their lunch box or makes their dinner - it’s the parents!
We completely agree with what Dr Ludwig suggests, “Parents should undergo ’instruction’ to stop them buying junk food.” It’s the parent’s responsibility! Research indicates that children are more likely to be obese if their parents are obese. It isn’t known whether this is because of genetic factors which the child inherits, if it’s because families tend to share eating and activity habits, or a combination of them both. These problems are likely to start in the home when children pick up their parents bad eating habits.
However we don’t agree that in Dr Ludwig’s suggestion that the parents and children should be, ’Separated.’ Surely the answer is joint education?
What is missing -- and what New You Boot Camp would like to offer is, education for BOTH parent and child. So that they can use all that they have learnt at the boot camp such as, health, nutrition, cooking, fitness and transfer it to their lives at home. Resulting in the pattern of healthy eating and regular exercise to continue beyond the programme. It should be imperative that parents should be educated alongside their children, which would not only get results necessary but would also result in an inspirational bonding process for parent and child too.
What we would like to do at our camps, is to set the children targets which encourage the trying of new foods and activities with continual praise for their achievements. Overall, the camp will encourage the enjoyment of cooking and eating together -- and teach parents and children how to incorporate fun and varied physical activity into their daily life. Parents and children would receive individual attention and consultations as well as doing activities together. We have looked at putting together a programme which includes nutritional advice, recipes and activities that are realistic, achievable, will fit in with individual lifestyles and, crucially offer on-going support.
When doing the research to launch a Parent & Child Boot Camp, the research revealed that our target audience was, Children and Parents within the lower income brackets. As nearly twice the amount of Children and parents that are overweight or obese are in the lower income brackets.
When we conducted the research with regards to price-point the focus groups revealed that parents with obese children on lower income would rather spend their money on, “A week a way in Spain for the family” than a week at a Parent and Child Boot Camp.
The problem with costs is unlike our week long boot camps for adults starting at £985, they would need to pay for at least one Parent to attend as well as a child to attend, which ads up.
Even when we looked at organising the Parent and Child Camps and keeping the profit margins as low as possible to try and make it affordable for Parent’s with children. The figure which we broke down to covers the cost of hiring a property, PTI’s, nutritionists, life coaches, managers, food, an aftercare programme etc. was still over double the price that the parents we researched told us they would be prepared to pay.
Running these camps at a loss is just not a viable option. We think the government needs to step up and put some funding into a project to help our children now... not in 25 years time, when they visit their GP for a weight loss surgery such as Gastric bands.
Last year it was reported that weight loss surgery in the UK cost the government £32 million. Surely a project such as a Parent and Child Boot Camp which not only helps parents and children with obesity is a better answer long term and could save the government millions of pounds each year?
Let’s try and educate the parents along side their children so it doesn’t get to the point that Dr. David Ludwig suggests where, “Fat children should being taken into care.”
Last years government figures showed that in the UK an estimated one in four 11 to 15 year olds were overweight or obese (and the problem is growing every year).
*Official statistics*: government figures reveal an estimated one in four 11 to 15 year olds are overweight or obese with the problem increasing every year and this is set to continue through to adulthood. Research indicates that children are more likely to be obese if their parents are too. It is not yet known whether this is because of genetic factors which the child inherits or whether it is because families tend to share eating and activity habits, or a combination of both.
*Statistics taken from a nationwide survey commissioned by the Department of Health.
*Further statistics†: A quarter of children in the UK start primary school with a weight problem. Nearly a third of children are overweight by secondary school. Obesity rates for those aged 10 and 11 in London are the worst in the country.
†Figures taken from the National Child Measurement Programme, which measures the weight of children in English primary schools.
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- Sunny Moran
- New You Boot Camp
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