Remember to practice your 5Qs on your Healthy Puzzle of Life Journey
Dr Gary “Koala” Leong
Paediatrician, Endocrinologist and Family Health Consultant
In my clinics I see so many families (mainly the Mum – where are you Dads?) who have a light-bulb moment when it occurs to them how overweight their child is after I show them their child’s growth chart, in comparison to the healthy weight chart. See www.pro.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/calculator/
I explain to these families that we have all become accustomed to obesity in our families and local communities. Our overweight children and adult friends are seen as ‘normal’.
We are being constantly told by our relatives, including our grandparents, that your children will be fine. They will grow out of their “big” bodies when they become a teenager. This may be true for a few children who remain very active and play regular sports throughout childhood into adolescence and young adulthood.
There is a lot of good to be said about staying physically fit for your general health (both mental and physical health), but this story of your child growing out of their “bigness” is not the case for most children who are overweight. So I think of these beautiful kids that I see in my clinic as my “10x kids” = Age in years x10 = their weight in kg! So a 5 year who is 50kg or a 10 year old who is 100kg! or if less severely overweight my 5X kids. Both kids are at great risk of obesity-related complication such as sleep apnoea, diabetes and liver disease. If there is a strong family history of heart disease they will likely develop heart problems as a young adult.
The reality is that your child will not outgrow their bigness if they eat lots of ultra processed packaged junk foods and take-away foods, instead of a healthy intake of “rainbow” fruits and vegetables big in healthy fats and proteins. Constantly being in front of a screen or phone is also a contributor to your child’s weight.
They will be destined to a life of growing from a very overweight child into an overweight adolescent, and then an obese adult at a high risk of type 2 diabetes, early heart disease and mental health issues.
The fact you are reading this article is your chance to change that destiny for them!
Be brave and courageous and practice Dr Koala’s 5Qs!
See my book “Ride to Life: a no-nonsense program for breaking your family’s cycle of obesity and connecting to a healthier, happier life.”
Join my decade-long 2020 Family Health Challenge and answer a few basic questions about your family and receive a free coupon to download the e-book version of my book to get free access to a growing library of helpful resources.
Q1. QUALITY of food – Shop, cook and eat real “rainbow” fresh and whole foods rather than processed, packaged and fake take-way frozen “foods”.
Q2. QUANTITY of food – Eat smaller portions until you are satisfied rather than full.
Q3. QUICK – Move your body quickly with “huffy puffy” more intense movement.
At least 30-60 minutes every day – the more the better.
Q4. QUICK – How fast are you eating? Try eat slowly and mindfully with as many chews as you can of the food in your mouth! As a family sit together around the dinner table and aim to finish main meals using the 20 minute rule.
Q5. QUESTION yourself – Are you truly hungry or just bored, anxious or upset? Will the food you are about to eat nourish your body or make you feel upset and sluggish?
Come join ‘Dr Koala’ on your “Ride to Life” The 2020 Family Health Challenge
Associate Professor Gary M. Leong MB, BS, FRACP, PhD is a Senior Staff Specialist in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Department of Paediatrics, Nepean Hospital, Nepean Blue Mountains, Paediatric Diabetes and Family Metabolic Health Services, The University of Sydney, Charles Perkins Centre Nepean Research Hub, Kingswood, NSW.