The 2012/13 NCMP (National Child Measurements Programme) report shows obesity rates in Year 6 (pupils aged 10-11 years) to be 20.4% for boys and 17.4% for girls.
As the western world continues to expand its waistline, the victims of obesity appear to be growing younger with each passing decade.
Health and education professionals are left to consider the best tactics to help young people avoid an unhealthy lifestyle and to overcome the perhaps more challenging issue of getting those who have already developed bad habits, back on track again.
Developing better sports and fitness programmes within schools is high on the political agenda. In the wake of so many schools selling land previously used for outdoor recreation and sports space, many now rely on outside providers to come in and teach sports as an extra curricular alternative. For many schools this poses a challenge, not just in allocating precious budget, but also in finding the time amongst an already full academic calendar.
For schools that do have the time and cash, there are often challenges in finding a “one size fits all” solution. Children need to have choices and options when it comes to sports and fitness. Above all else, they need to feel as if they are participating because they want to, and not because they have to.
Family life poses challenges too. Parents with less disposable income tend to have fewer options when it comes to making healthy shopping choices. Working parents may not have the time for sports and exercise, which sets it lower down the values list for their children too.
Life continues to provide opportunities for young people to become overweight, and even obese. Overcoming the habits that cause these circumstances does not come in the form of one route or a one size fits all technique.
Whilst there are many strategies within NLP and Hypnotherapy for children that would be useful to help a young person move away from obesity, there are some key elements that will always have to happen initially before any form of treatment begins.
Motivation: The young person must want the positive result that will occur once they are following a healthier life style. This can’t work just because the doctor said it must.
Honesty: The parents and the child must be honest about their habits. They must be open about what they do and do not do. Often NLP and Hypnotherapy are the last solution, so the family must be honest about why all of the other methods have failed.
Everyone on board: When a child is obese, the entire family is underpinning the issue in some way. Everyone must support the child and each other in making a change. Change can only happen for the child when everyone else’s habits that affect that child’s life changes too.
Commitment: Overcoming obesity is not like stopping a nail biting habit. There are some challenges that we help young people with (using NLP and Hypnotherapy) where the result can be seem immediately. If you get help to stop biting your nails, you’ll know within a day or two if it has worked. However weigh rarely disintegrates overnight. The greater the obesity, the longer it will take to achieve the overall desired results.
Realistic: Everyone in the family should know what the goal is and have the same realistic steps in mind for how it will be achieved. If the child needs to lose a stone, that isn’t going to be possible in 2 months. It will take considerably longer. This takes us back to the point about commitment.
If you know a child who would benefit from losing weight, please do not delay in helping them to develop new healthy habits.
By Gemma Bailey www.NLP4Kids.org/gemma-bailey