USA: Rick, Jami | Argentina: Johny | Pakistan: Ayisha | Iran: Elham, Sara, Hanieh | France: Djamila | Azerbaijan: Salima | Tunisia: Amin, Yesser | Switzerland: George | Iraq: Zahir | Bangladesh: Mohiuddin, Jahangir | Egypt: Haitham | Algeria: Hamzabat, Soso, Faycel | Russia: Oleg
Format: General Discussion
She talks about genetics first, as being the first cause of obesity. Then, eating habits too. She thinks that the role of parents is important. It’s up to them take care of their children, teach them good eating habits and control their consumption. Moreover, school can play a role in educating children and teach them how to have and maintain healthy eating habits and practice sport.
Question to Elham from Rick: I know you enjoy doing Yoga, so do you think, when you do yoga, is it young people or older people that practice Yoga when you do it?
Elham: there are different people practicing Yoga.
Rick: Most people don’t think about young children when thinking about Yoga
Marwa: is that true that Yoga has really magical effects on body?
Elham: You can’t even imagine! For years I’ve practiced karate, I always loved exercise and I usually work out, but, Yoga is so different. If you do it the right way, you can feel the connection between your body and your soul. I recommend everyone to try it.
Marwa: There is a strong relationship between childhood and obesity. She provided some of the primary factors which are closely related to this phenomenon. She talked about stress as being the main cause of obesity. Then, she talked about bad eating habits but also, heredity, genetics and psychological mindset of the child which can cause obesity. In her case for example, she tends to eat whenever she feels anxious or stressed. She believes these different factors can increase the risks of obesity. She proposed some solutions like, supporting the child, push him and encourage him to practice sport.
It could be partially genetic, also psychological. If there are issues in the family environment, children are likely to be obese.
Someone: the role of parents is important but in some ages it’s not easy to control the eating habits of children, for example, teenagers. Also, parents very often, they don’t even have good eating habits themselves, so they should take care of themselves first in order to educate their children. Concerning the exercise part, in my country, most schools are private; they don’t have enough space and any outside space and playground space where children can exercise. In theory, school is responsible too, but in practice, they are not equipped for that. Generations have changed and children don’t play outside like we used to do. They spent too much time on video games.
Rick: good point someone, we often as parents are kind of hypocritical, we tell our children to do something and we do another. As a parent, you’re probably the most important role model your children will ever have, if they see you do something, they will probably try to model it or mimic it. In the USA for example, we usually see parents and children doing exercise together which is a good example. Concerning school also, schools are not only for academic education, it should be balanced and focus on body and spirit education. Mind, body and spirit.
Obesity is a serious issue in many countries. There are some reasons that have been mentioned. I would add that pregnancy can be a cause. When a woman is pregnant, she gains a lot of weight, they sleep a lot and don’t have physical activity. Lazy mothers and women gaining weight during the pregnancy is not good for the baby. Another reason is that some families believe that chubby babies are cute and even healthy. They also believe that breast feeding is not good enough, so they use other alternative food which is bad for the child. The last reason is that there is a change in the diet of children; they tend to eat fast food and not vegetables. These days, both parents are working and they are busy, women don’t cook as they used to do, so they make fast food, which is not healthy. We need to change our habits.
Agrees with what he said about the parent’s habits. But, concerning what he said about the weight women gain and lack of breast feeding. I would say that, women gain weight but the child take only what he needs and the rest of it, it’s up to the mom to lose it. Concerning breast feeding, it’s healthy, but some women just can’t do that.
Marwa: in some cultures, the pregnant women is overfed in order to gain weight, because it’s a sign of beauty and healthy. They think that this will help the baby. The habits of a pregnant mom influence the future habits of her child.
George: childhood obesity rates are increasing and the definition of obesity and overweight has changed. The statistics show that being thin is not a fashion anymore. Overweight is defined as being the basic measurement index above 25 or below 95. We can all calculate that by dividing the person’s weight by the height. There is a balance between energy and body needs. Normally when we exercise, we need energy. The income level of the family is to take into consideration also, because, having a high or low income level can cause obesity, because sugar and fast food is cheaper and it is more expensive to eat healthy. In Japan for example, exercise is mandatory before any class, so government has a duty to educate children.
Djamila: There are different causes for obesity. First of all, parents. Adults are responsible, they buy food and they need to take time to cook for their children. Both parent’s works but they have to take time to cook healthy food and show the good example. The second reason is that, society influences children. Children nowadays spend too much time inside playing video games; they don’t play like we used to do. It has been proven that spending time in front and computers or TV increases the tendency to eat. The third reason can be related to psychological causes. When a child is already in the process of obesity, eating becomes a psychological need, not a biological need. You lose the fullness sensation and you want to eat more and more. The last reason is that children have access to soft drinks and it becomes a habit to drink these drinks instead of drinking water. In many school you find soda machines and they don’t do that anymore because of the high rates of childhood obesity. For the solutions, we have the example of Philadelphia in the USA. They have decided to tax soft drinks because of the high rates of obesity and it is controversial but when a situation is alarming, drastic measures need to be taken.
Anas: obesity is due to genetic reasons. Some people have a slow metabolism. Whether they practice sport or not, it’s hard for them and they still gain weight. On the other hand, some people have a fast metabolism, and even if they eat and don’t practice sports, they keep in shape.
Rick: There are for some people genetic reasons, and for people who have a slower metabolism, the way they consume calories is different. At the end of the day, your body is a machine and it needs energy and each machine works differently.
Djamila: Obesity can be cultural. In some countries and in some cultures, when a child is overweight, it’s a sign of beauty and health. The cultural perspective is really interesting and standards of beauty are different.
Rick: yes, there are different factor to consider, there isn’t only one answer to this problem.
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