Learning to choose good health

Healthy approach: Callum Boyd,11, enjoys physical activity with his mum, Janelle Boyd. Picture: Simon Bennett
Healthy approach: Callum Boyd,11, enjoys physical activity with his mum, Janelle Boyd. Picture: Simon Bennett

IT'S not unusual to see Callum Boyd, 11, reading the nutritional details on the box of food he's about to eat.

It's also nothing out of the ordinary for him to be quite enthused to take to the sporting field.

Six months ago it was a different story. He admits he was far less active and motivated.

Callum, from Horningsea Park, did not always understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

While the rates of overweight and obese children continue to soar, his mother, Janelle Boyd, thought it would be beneficial for her son to develop a healthier approach to life.

She said Callum has made significant changes since he completed a free 10-week Go4Fun health program for children aged seven to 13.

"Callum wasn't very active and I thought getting him involved in physical activity and learning about healthy eating habits would be good for him," Mrs Boyd said.

"He makes healthier choices, is more keen to do physical activity and understands how food affects the body.

"If children understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle at a young age they will adopt it with them into their teen years and adulthood."

A NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey found about 25 to 28 per cent of parents with obese children in kindergarten and years 2 and 4, thought their children were about the right weight, while 56 to 62 per cent of parents thought their children were slightly overweight.

South Western Sydney Local Health District Go4Fun manager, Leah Choi, said parents found it tricky to distinguish whether their children were at the right weight.

"Kids above a healthy weight were more likely to become overweight adults which makes childhood an important time to help get them on track for life," she said.

"It's important for families to have open discussions with their doctor or to check in with a free health service."

Ms Choi said the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children remained a concern.

She said small changes to childrens' lunches and snacks could make a big difference to their health.

"Healthy habits formed early in life can stick with a person beyond childhood," Ms Choi said.

"Try incorporating fruit and vegetables or lettuce on a sandwich, or homemade muffins with dried fruit, carrot, zucchini, banana or pumpkin."