SUPERSIZE: CQ kids are at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
SUPERSIZE: CQ kids are at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Nicholas Falconer

Expert reveals what's making CQ's kids obese

A CQ nutritionist says Rocky's high ratio of fast food outlets contributes to the region's high level of obese kids.

Dietician, Chris Hughes, says that it's no surprise that 27.2 per cent rate of CQ kids are overweight or obese.

"The facilities are better set up in the city," Mr Hughes said referring to Brisbane.

"There's more activity and parks and pathways, because regional cities tend to be more spread out, driving seems to be more a part of it.

"The lower the socio-economic status, the higher the ratio of fast food outlets.

"That's a study that's come out of Brisbane.

"In Rocky and Yeppoon, there's fast food everywhere. In cities, they're there. But in the city, they seem to be more diluted."

CQ Nutrition Dietitian Chris Hughes.
CQ Nutrition Dietitian Chris Hughes. Contributed

Of all his clients, 75 per cent are those struggling with obesity, and about 10 per cent of those are children.

Mr Hughes believes that society's preference for convenience is a huge factor in why the rates of obesity are not just increasing, but also the weight average in those categories.

CQ now has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity.
CQ now has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity. Contributed

"When you think of our grandparents' era, pastries and everything existed but they had to bake it themselves. Now they can go through a drive through and eat a day's worth of calories... everywhere you look, food is in your face," he said.

"You can't go through a checkout without being tempted by crap. It's all at a kid's eyeballs.

"The healthy food isn't as accessible as it should be and the terrible food is more accessible."

Evidently, chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease are now becoming more prevalent in children, whereas issues such as these used to only affect adults.

"I will have parents bring their kid in wanting them to lose weight but the biggest affect on anyone's weight is what they have in the fridge and the cupboard.

"So, it's more the whole family that you've got to address ... I just give them guidelines and encouragement and try and sell what I need to increase fruit and vegetable intake and why the discretionary foods like takeaway are not ideal to be eating regularly.

"I'm not against them eating it but I think as adults it's about trying to show the kids how often to eat it ... maybe go out once a fortnight and treat yourself."

Parents are a huge factor in children's attitudes towards diet and exercise, and it's up to parents to encourage children to implement incidental exercise like walking to school into their daily lives.

CQ now has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity.
CQ now has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity. Contributed

A big misconception that Mr Hughes is determined to correct is that healthy options are necessarily expensive.

He believes that a large part of why takeaway food is so cheap is because of "consume and demand".

"Once we can encourage more healthy options people will start to buy it and the price will come down," he said.

"Have a look at the unit price. Your veggies and fruit range from anywhere from a dollar a kilo and some fruits can be 15 dollars a kilo. Your packet of chips you may be paying two dollars for it but you're paying twenty dollars a kilo. You're buying a lot less food.

"They see it as they're spending less money but it's costing them a fortune in the long run."

Although experts from Diabetes Queensland are saying that mandatory testing for type-2 diabetes in regional emergency rooms could save lives and millions of dollars, Mr Hughes is trying to get the message across that preventative measures are where the focus needs to be.

"I'm actually a big fan of some sort of subsidy for healthy food and a bit of a tax on the unhealthy food," he said.



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