According to the University of the Free State up to 5% of boys and a staggering 25% of girls in South Africa are obese or overweight. Only the UK, Canada, the USA and Mexico exceed our poor statistics. As a result children are more at risk of suffering from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes at an early age. In response to this rising pandemic Weigh-Less, Southern Africa’s leading health and weight management organisation, introduced a Teens and Tweens programme in 2011.
This easy-to-follow plan is a child-friendly version of the Weigh-Less programme, and has been specially designed for children between the ages of nine – 18. It includes a handy guide on what to expect, tasty recipes and a ‘Kids only’ food list - full of the foods that kids love in portions that are suitable for a healthy lifestyle.
Mary Holroyd, Founder and Chairman of Weigh-Less says, “Do not mistake our programme for a diet of any sorts, Weigh-Less does not advocate dieting. It is all about educating our children about the benefits of healthy eating and making healthier food choices so that they too can take charge of their health. The Teens and Tweens programme includes a variety of foods from each of the food groups to ensure optimal vitamin and mineral intake, and includes eight different formula’s that can be adjusted according to their ages, personality and lifestyle.”
Anisa Khan, mother of 13 year old, Tabassum, motivated her daughter, who then weighed 100kg, to join Weigh-Less in order to not only look and feel better about herself, but so she could be healthier too. Anisa says: ”I enjoy packing and preparing my daughters meals for the day. Seeing how happy Tabassum is since losing weight, is very rewarding.”
“It is our responsibility to educate our children on how to approach their weight issues in a healthy manner in order to prevent them from falling into the fad dieting trap and through this assist them in maintaining a healthy weight,” adds Mary.
Interestingly, according to fitness expert, Scott White at least 33.3% of children consume fast food daily.
Stephanie Simon, a 16 year old from Glenvista, Johannesburg confesses that she ate junk food almost every day and would take money to school to buy treats and colddrinks. Since being on our Teens and Tweens programme and losing 13kg, Stephanie has a new lease on life. “I don’t feel like I can’t eat because I am on Weigh-Less, instead I have come to enjoy eating healthier and would make the same choices even if I didn’t have a weight problem. Thanks to Weigh-Less, healthy eating has become a part of my life,” she says.
Mary stresses the importance of offering our young ones guidance when making food and suggests the following healthy lunch-box snacks:
Low-fat health muffins
Cucumber slices, carrot sticks, cocktail tomatoes
Wholewheat bread sandwiches healthy fillings
For more information on the Weigh-Less Teens and Tweens programme visit www.weigh-less.co.za or call 0861 100 551.
- (Weigh-Less press release, Health24, May 2012)
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