I read an article in today's Kosmo about a 9yr old kid from India who weighs 75kg. Now I dont want to talk about her specific case but would like to focus on the general weight problems among kids and teens in Malaysia - its causes and what you as parents can do to help your kids!

I read an article in today’s Kosmo about a 9yr old kid from India who weighs 75kg. Now I dont want to talk about her specific case but would like to focus on the general weight problems among kids and teens in Malaysia – its causes and what you as parents can do to help your kids!

What causes obesity among kids?

Times sure have changed from way back in the 80s when I was a lil boy. I remember spending so much time outdoors – climbing trees, playing sports, the sand box haha, the playground … well you get the idea. Video games were scarce and yeah a luxury.

Kids are clueless about nutrition. Parents, set the rules!

I didn’t know much about nutrition and like most kids, the green stuff on my dinner plate wasn’t too exciting. My mom played an important role to ensure that we ate balanced meals (most of the time). McDonald’s and other fast foods were rare treats. We were only allowed ice-cream and sweets over weekends and special occasions. She had rules! These rules became the foundation of my upbringing. Something that stays with me til today and is something I will do with my kids as well.

… We were only allowed ice-cream and sweets over weekends and special occasions …

Five Reasons Why Kids and Teens are Overweight

  • 1. Quality of Life – The overall quality of life in Malaysia is on the rise. This leads to more rewards – more ice cream more sweets.
  • 2. Parents are too busy – This is classic. Parents are too busy with their careers and hand over the role of day-care to maids. Problem is, maids are not in control. Most of the time, its the kids that will dictate and push the maids around.
  • 3. Video Games and Internet – Well we are all aware on how kids no longer play outdoors and rather stay indoors playing video games or go online … and yeah, while playing, a glass of milo or chips are always near.
  • 4. Our Education system – Physical education and extracurricular activities are a joke in Malaysia. They are often deemed irrelevant as books and exams take first priority.
  • 5. Bad Role Models – This is all about the parents. Kids follow in the footsteps of their parents. If parents dont set guidelines and don’t look to healthy themselves, kids are likely to follow.

5 + 1 Ways to Combat Obesity Among Kids and Teens

The solution to every problem lies in its problems. Parents need to be aware and play an active role to the problem-solutions.

  • 1. Quality of Life – An increase in quality of life doesn’t always need to result to more trips to the next buffet. If you have more money to splurge, why not take a vacation that involves outdoor activities? Go snorkeling, climb Mount Kinabalu or pick up new hobbies like salsa, biking etc.
  • 2. Parents are too busy – You can’t have everything in life. You can’t focus all your attentions on your career and hope that by some miracle, your family life is taken care of. Its all about give and take. Parents need to set their priorities. Your children – your family – should be your priority. If it is not, your kids will suffer the consequences of your actions. That’s the honest truth.
  • 3. Video Games and Internet – Ok sure, we can’t avoid these trends but we can control them and that is exactly where parents play in role in setting the guidelines. But hey, when you set a guideline, make sure you enforce it and stay firm. No video games during the week means just that! And if it is safe, get your kids to play outdoors. Make it a rule!
  • 4. Our Education system – Unfortunately, we have no control over the current state of our education system. We do however control our own families. Sports play a vital role in developing your kid’s social skills and also teaches them about commitment, discipline and makes them competitive in life.
  • 5. Bad Role Models – No one wants to be a negative role model to their own kids. Be aware of how your image reflects opon them. Think about the time when you were young and looked at your own parents. Taking good care of your health will instill a positive image in their minds.
  • 6. Its never too late – No one likes change but its never too late to start. No matter how old your children are today, it is in your hands and yeah, it is your responsiblity to do what is best for them.

If you have kids or teens who are struggling with their weight, you can sign them up for a personal consultation session with me where we go through everything in detail.

Kevin Zahri

I am a US certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Over the years, I have published over 10 books, written for Men's Health, other fitness and lifestyle magazines, hosted TV shows and appeared on various TV shows, programs and magazines. I am also an avid corporate wellness speaker and web entrepreneur.

More about me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

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  • Like other parents, I too am guilty of letting my kids sit infront of the TV whenever I’m busy..but because I work from home, I *try* not to let them do that too long or too often. Games on papa’s iPhone or mama’s laptop are restricted on weekends only. On weekends papa will bring them out cycling around (the papa does mountain-biking on weekends, now learning to motorcross too). They went for a 7km on-the-road last weekend..today their papa is not around so I told my 8yo and 6yo to follow me on their bikes while I was jogging. We’re busy parents, but we try our best to get the kids off their b*tt as often as we can. Gets us closer too. Must make time for this..kalau nak FIND the time, susah sikit nak jumpa lah :P

  • thanks for sharing Millie. Yeah finding creative and FUN activities is key!

  • I’m currently training some kids ….. and frankly, it’s a bit tricky to train them as I always need to keep on finding and creating fun and interesting things to do. As a result, some sessions are better than the other. Well, c’est la vie :)

  • Pendapat saya, anak2 terikut dgn pola makan ibu-bapanya, ramai berpendapat punca dapat sakit kronik sbb keturunan, sedangkan hakikatnya 70% punca kita jatuh sakit adalah krn apa yg kita makan/minum. Ahli hikmah pernah berkata: “You were what you ate” ;-)

  • Saya amat2 menyalahkan ibu bapa bg setiap perlakuan dan lifestyle anak2 sbb parents adalah role model dan org yang plg rapat dgn mereka. Dari umur sehari corak pemakanan anak2 telah ditentukan oleh ibu bapa. Cara terbaik didik mereka dgn corak diet sihat,guide mereka dgn nilai2 positif ke arah menjaga kesihatan. 3 org anak2 jiran saya (3-10 tahun) dimasukkan ke hospital sekaligus krn masalah buah pinggang dan amat mengejutkan bila doc mendiagnose puncanya ialah junkfood!! Sedih kan? Siapa yang ajar anak2 makan semua tu?Kalau tak suruh makan pun,yg pasti tak ada sebarang guide bg anak2 tu utk pilih makanan kan? So, as parents, didik anak2 dr kecil lg utk pilih pola pemakanan yg betul disamping aktiviti yang bersesuai utk mengelak obesiti yang menjadi punca segala penyakit..

  • wow thats so true Miss Jelita …. its parents responsibility to take care of their children’s health.
    thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • miss honey

    jgn cbuk cri duit je, anak2 pun kta kna la jge… klu dh t’jd ape2 bru nk mnyesal… katakan taknak pada junk food