Beating the Summer sofa syndrome
- Six weeks of TV, video games and snacks adds up to half-a-stone
- A third of kids will consume 18,000 extra calories
- Half of parents underestimate the actual weight of their child
Six weeks freedom might sound like a dream come true, but the school holidays can see the average British child consume an additional 18,000 calories - equivalent to 215 chocolate digestives - they will not burn off due to ‘Summer Sofa Syndrome'.
That's the key find finding based on the work of weight management company MoreLife which runs the longest running residential weight loss camp in Europe.
MoreLife estimates this summer 4.3 million children (33%) will succumb to ‘Summer Sofa Syndrome' as a result of the absence of structure in their free time, uncontrolled diet and hours spent slumped on the sofa or asleep in bed. In this period many kids will put on as much as half-a-stone and fall into a behaviour pattern that could have long-term health consequences.
While a six-week resident at a MoreLIfe summer camp at Woodhouse Grove School, Bradford can expect to burn off an average of 13.2lbs during their stay, millions of other kids who will see their weight increase and health suffer. In response MoreLife founder and the UK's foremost expert in child obesity Paul Gately has written a free downloadable guide downloadable for children and parents, ‘Beating Summer Sofa Syndrome'.
In order to get moving, have fun and burn off 18,000 calories in the summer holidays all kids have to do is replace an unnecessary ‘sofa snack' with an activity one day each week:
· Monday: 20 minutes jumping on a trampoline (400 calories) instead of 2 slices of margarita pizza
· Tuesday: 45 minutes of football in the garden (320 calories) instead of 6 chicken nuggets
· Wednesday: 10 minutes walk to a friend's house (35 calories) instead of 1 chocolate finger
· Thursday: 40 minutes dancing with friends (240 calories) instead of ham and cheese toastie on white
· Friday: 30 minutes bike ride (210 calories) instead of a jam doughnut
· Saturday: 40 minutes Wii fit (140 calories) instead of a packet of crisps
· Sunday: 20 minutes walk to feed the ducks (70 calories) instead of a fun-size chocolate bar
According to Paul Gately: "Summer Sofa Syndrome is serious problem that contributes significantly to childhood obesity. There's a nostalgic view of summer holidays consisting of climbing tress, long bike rides and adventure, but we see the consequences of the many children who simply stay indoors, turn on the TV, graze on sugar-loaded snacks and pile on the pounds.
"£35 billion a year is spent on obesity related illnesses, while only £6 million is actually allocated to treating childhood obesity, this cost difference clearly demonstrates where the money is being spent. Habits are developed at an early age and that's where we come in - MoreLife is all about changing behaviours to result in a healthier life.
"Our weight management and health improvement programmes aim to give people: more confidence, more health, more energy and ultimately, more life and that's why we think it's really important to offer our summer clubs and residential camp for families throughout the UK starting in July. "
"We know that weight management camps have significant effects. On average campers lose almost a stone and reduce their BMI by up to 2.4 units. The benefits of camp participation are also seen in blood pressure, aerobic fitness, self-esteem and improved sports skills. This research should really empower families to start taking action to change the course of their future and address potential long-term weight issues."
Worryingly is the fact that over half of parents underestimate the weight of their child, many in denial of the severity of the problem. Unfortunately the cycle doesn't stop there as obese children have an 85% chance of becoming obese adults.
Camp dates for 2012 are as follows:
Week 1 (22 July to 28 July)
Week 2 (29 July to 4 August)
Week 3 (5 August to 11 August)
Week 4 (12 August to 18 August)
Week 5 (19 August to 25 August)
Week 6 (26 August to 1 September)
Week-long summer clubs are also available in:
Berkshire / Bexley / Camden / Doncaster / Islington / Knowsley / Middlesborough / Redcar / Scarborough / Stockton / Wandsworth and Whitby
To get involved, find out more about the summer clubs or to receive a free child health check, call 0113 812 5233 or visit www.more-life.co.uk.