One in five children in the UK is overweight: It isn’t hard to work out why. It is becoming easier and easier for children to get hold of junk food and easier and easier for them to avoid exercising. Schools have cafeteria-style lunches and junk food filled vending machines; the requirements of league tables mean PE time is reduced; more and more kids are driven to school rather than walk as parents fear for their children’s safety.
Author Paul Sacher is a Paediatric Nutrition Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. In the course of his work he helps overweight and obese children and their families to lead healthier lives by improving what they eat and helping them to exercise more. Sacher has a greater insight into the problem than being a mere ‘expert’. He explains that he was himself a ‘fat kid’ and so understands not only the physical but the psychological problems caused by being overweight.
‘From Kid to Superkid’ is not a diet book for children; the author is quite clear that children’s diets should not be restricted nor should they be forced to lose weight. This could cause the child to miss out on all the nutrients which a growing child need to get from their diet. Instead it shows how to change your children’s diet to a healthier one and how to help your child become more active.
Where this book differs from other books on healthy eating for kids is that it is not just a list of recommended food, menu plans and exercise regimes. The book delves deep into the psychological aspects of becoming overweight and being overweight. It may be hard to motivate a child to eat well and exercise by telling them that they risk a heart attack thirty years in the future, surely it is much more effective to explain to them that they will feel happier, find their school work easier and be more self confident.
The book does of course include practical nutritional advice, focusing on changing the diet to include foods with a low Glycaemic Index (GI), and that are low in fat. The GI of many popular foods is listed, some of which may come as a surprise – Weetabix, in spite of being wholegrain, has a high GI. (Curious, I looked at the ingredients and discovered that the third listed ingredient is sugar.)
Most importantly it helps you to understand why your child may resist your efforts to help them become healthier, why you need to get the whole family to join in and how the rest of the family can unwittingly be sabotaging you and your child’s efforts.
With recipes, food tables and suggestions on setting goals and offering rewards this book is an essential guide not only for the parents of overweight or obese children, but any parent who wants their family to grow up with healthy eating habits and an enthusiasm for exercise.
Find From Kid to Superkid at Amazon.co.uk.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.