More often we can see overweight children in Ukrainian schools. Of course, we are not Americans, but this problem has already reached Ukrainian teenagers. According to statistics, every fifth child suffers from obesity. Although we have no widespread custom to take daily fast-food lunch or drink soda pop after meals, the results of a current lifestyle are evident. The appearance of the child is, of course, determined by genetics. But why do boys and girls, who do not have "heavy bones", suffer from unnecessary kilograms? ForUm has decided to explore this issue.

Conducting the relevant researches, the German scientists made a conclusion that children gain weight soon after going to school. "Age of five years is followed by three years in which we note a sudden sharp growth in overweight rate," says Alexander Hoffmann from the Institute of Sports Science of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz.

The doctors decided to find an answer to a fairly simple question: when do children become obese? As a result of researches, they found out that children start becoming obese at the age of about 7.2 years. More than 20% of children at the age of 8 are overweight. Such a rate of overweight children remains approximately constant until majority. Another conclusion is that boys and girls are subject to obesity in equal measure.

Wrong lifestyle

"All three boys are copies of their father. Our dad weighs 110 kg, no less. Children have used to eat well and a lot since the very childhood. When they were still kids, it did not bother me. The grandparents were very happy with their plump cheeks and feet. They said that meant the babies were healthy. But as they mature, it becomes more difficult for them to move. The elder son is 11 years old and he already has shortness of breath. We gave all three to several sports, but it only helps to control weight a little, not to lose weight. It is good that I have sons. Other children are afraid to mock at them, thinking they are strong if they are fat. If I had girls, I would not even know what to do," says Oksana, mother of three sons with excess weight.

The reason for these problems lies not only in genetics, but also in our eating habits, says pediatrician Anna Gorban. "Diet of Ukrainian children is completely wrong. Today, there is a clear concept of a healthy lifestyle and diet. This includes 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, a set of meat products, 3 servings of dairy products (skim milk and cottage cheese, 150 ml of yogurt). There should be 6 meals a day. Each serving of food must include potatoes of low starch content or cereals, or dry pasta and whole wheat bread. Sweet and fat meals should be occasional. The food itself should not be salty. In addition, it is necessary to drink about 1.5 liters of still water per day," she says.

The pediatrician does not recommend limiting the children in the diet. "They need healthy food, not limitation," says Anna Gorban. She adds that parents may 100% control the diet o their schoolchildren. Control is important as the consequences of the extra inches around the waist can be severe. According to Gorban, it could lead to diabetes, children hypertension, hypothalamic syndrome, and hormonal disorders. Hormonal problems have different effects on male and female body. Such violations cause the acceleration of sexual development of girls and slowdown – of boys.

Another problem, according to doctors, is that children play football on the computer instead of playing in the yard. "Such a high percentage of excess weight is associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The Slavic people have a wrong approach: the main thing is to feed. The main thing, by the way, is communication with mom, dad, grandma, grandpa. However, the adults think if a child eats well, everything is OK. If a child is healthy, but the trend begins to be evident, he has to drink more. This is important. Emphasis should be placed on the usefulness of food and on what the organism needs, not on the availability of certain products at home. Parents should not make a child ear the whole portion if he does not want to," advises Oksana Grishchenko, head of pediatric department of the National Children's Specialized Hospital “OKHMATDET”, noting that a child has to move and thereby to spend the received calories.

If the parents are afraid of bright media headlines that once Ukrainian school student died in physical education, the pediatricians advise to undergo medical examination and electrocardiogram. Fear must not be the reason for limiting the physical activity of a child. Similarly, psychologists recommend not using food as a tool of punishment or reward. After all, there are so many things that can please a child. The cheapest and the most useful of them is time and care of parents.

A sound mind in a sound body

One of the health problems of the Ukrainian population, especially among teenagers, is physical inactivity, youth and sports minister of Ukraine Ravil Safiullin considers. "Replacing gyms with computer games leads to overweight, cardiovascular system problems, metabolic disorder, etc. According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, Ukraine produced 16 million liters of brandy in 2000, 24 million liters in 2005, and already 46 million liters in 2012. 196 million liters of vodka were produced in 2000, 351 million liters in 2005, and 425 million liters in 2010. Alcohol production impresses with its size. Here we are ahead of the rest world, especially if make calculations per capita. Can you imagine the pace?" Safiullin asked rhetorically. In addition, according to him, 58.8 billion cigarettes were produced in 2000, and already 120 billion pieces in 2005.

To distract students from beer and cigarettes, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a state program of physical culture and sports development for 2013-2017. According to the youth and sports minister Ravil Safiullin, the program implementation will provide an opportunity to gradually increase physical activity for children and young people up to 8-12 hours per week. "The program will help to involve up to 20% of children and youth aged 6 to 23 years in studies in youth sports schools and create conditions for the development of the reserve sport and enlarge the basic structure of the national teams," the minister hopes.

However, if you want to change the world - start with yourself. The main problem of present-day Ukrainian schoolchildren is their parents, says the coach of one of the children's sports schools Natalia. "The main difficulty in attracting children to sporting activities is indifferent parents. Sometimes a child wants to do sports, comes to workouts 3 times a week, and parents forbid him to train, because they are too lazy to take their child from classes in the evening. Some creative mothers ask doctors to write some prescriptions to make the child sit quietly at home. Do you know why? Parents just do not want to spend money on sports uniforms and competitions," says the coach, recruiting kids groups for free lessons.

"Children themselves are inactive too. They do not want to jump and run. Although it would seem that 9-11 years old is the age when everyone loves to move. School children are so used to sit at their computers, iPads and TVs that it is incredibly difficult to persuade them to go to the sports section. When asked: "What do you do at home after school?", they usually answer: "I play computer games". But the most interesting thing is that those students who cannot do sports because of health problems are very eager to move and take exercises. On the contrary, health children are lazy. It is extremely hard to make overweight children do any moves. What can be more interesting than a ball game in a school age? However, the purpose of a ball is unclear and unknown for them. They seemed to see this object for the first time in their life. Although, all the girls imagine themselves only models and dancers and boys want to be football players, meanwhile they are reluctant to do sports," the coach complains.

Children's health is foremost in the hands of parents, and depends on the state only on a second-priority basis. It is important not only to give birth to a healthy baby, but also to develop your child’s organism at least up to the age of majority.

Tetyana Hryhorieva


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