“Children suffer from weight”

cool. A family helper from Kiel has just been contacted: A 15-year-old boy weighs 200 kilos. It’s obvious – this severely overweight teenager needs help. And it’s not an isolated case, reports Kiel nutritionist Beate Daâs, who has supported obese children and young people with her Fördekids program for about 20 years.

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“There are more cases, obesity is becoming more common – and the extent is also increasing,” says the 64-year-old. “There was once less extreme obesity, something I only knew from adults. It’s not that rare anymore. “

More and more girls and boys in Schleswig-Holstein are suffering from morbid obesity (obesity). In the last ten years, cases have increased by twelve percent, health insurance Barmer reports in its current medical report. According to this, doctors found obesity in about 18,800 children and adolescents under the age of 20 in the north by 2020.

Ten years earlier, there were about 16,800 boys and girls, 2,000 fewer cases. The only good news: With a share of 3.6 percent of children who are overweight, the Nordic region is still below the national average of 4.0 percent. According to Barmer, about 200 cases are added each year.

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Kielerin wants to teach children with morbid obesity new eating habits

Some of them end up with nutritionist Beate Daâs. “We look after children here who are 1.40 meters tall and weigh 60 kilos or more,” she says. From 45 kilos, such a child is considered to be morbidly overweight. In two groups for children between the ages of eight and 16, the nutritionist wants to encourage people to enjoy healthy eating and exercise. Goal: lose weight in the long run, stabilize weight.

The groups meet once a week at Käthe Kollwitz School and play sports. Sometimes psychological coaching complements the offer, sometimes nutritional counseling. There is medical advice – and there is cooking. Parents are involved in the one-year program, which is covered by many health insurance companies.

Prerequisite: The children must be motivated to lose weight themselves. And this is the case: “The children suffer from the weight. Even if they say in advance, it does not bother them. When I ask questions, they talk about bullying at school, about the frustration of buying clothes. Tears often roll down there. ”

Beate Daâs is a nutritionist from Kiel. With her program Fördekids, she accompanies obese children and young people.

But how does it really come to such a sharp weight gain in the youngest? In addition to a genetic predisposition or a disturbed feeling of hunger and satiety, health insurance Barmer mentions an important reason: The unfavorable combination of too much soda and sweets, too little low-fat raw food and exercise. It is “everyday habits that promote obesity that children take over from their parents and usually retain for the rest of their lives,” says Bernd Hillebrandt, Barmer’s head of state in Schleswig-Holstein.

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According to the “Study on the Health of Children and Adolescents in Germany” (KiGGS) by the Robert Koch Institute, only 14.1 percent of young people eat the recommended amount of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Instead, three to 17-year-olds consume on average more than half a liter of sugary drinks, about 69 grams of confectionery and twelve grams of sweet cold cuts a day.

“The summer holidays provide a good opportunity to introduce children to fresh food by cooking together. In addition, a lot of time must be spent on physical activities outdoors and as little time as possible in front of the screen, ”Hillebrandt recommends.

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Why is the reality in many families far behind the recommendations? This gives the nutritionist from Kiel a few more reasons. According to Beate Daâs, obesity can be found in all social classes, but it is especially common in families with a lower level of education. With parents who themselves are an example of unhealthy food. “There are several eating disorders in high school,” Daâs adds.

Consultant from Kiel: “Getting out of the stress trap is very, very difficult”

Such disruptions have become a specific problem, especially during the pandemic: the loss of structure in everyday life. Some responded by wanting more control. Beate Daâs: “They stick to a diet, exercise at home, eat healthier and healthier.”

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The others eat out of boredom, playing on the computer. “These are interdependent: higher media consumption, little exercise, unhealthy food,” says the expert. Overall, she believes families are more pressured than they were 20 years ago. “It was then that I noticed: Getting out of the stress trap, changing the motivation to eat healthier and exercise in the long run – it’s very, very difficult.”

Rejection of 15-year-old from Kiel – consultant recommends long-term rehabilitation

By the way, Beate Daâs had to say no to the family helper of the 15-year-old boy, who was extremely overweight. As a starting point, participation in the Fördekids program is only possible if the parents are also involved and support it.

She explains: “Unfortunately, that would not have been the case with the boy. In addition, I saw difficulties with whether the boy could actually participate in our sports program.” She therefore recommended long-term rehabilitation specializing in this very extreme obesity, where the boy wanted therapy and a program every day – even without parental involvement.

Affected families can also find help online at www.fke-do.de. The Research Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund offers information on healthy nutrition, on “optimized mixed food” with tips for recipes. “Platform Nutrition and Exercise eV (peb)” forms an “Adiposity” competence network, wants to ensure a healthy lifestyle for children and young people and prevent the development of obesity. Parents can find information on the nutrition of obese children in an online brochure from the Working Group on Obesity in Children and Adolescents.

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