Motivating children to shed flab

DUBAI - A suggestive approach can motivate school-children to lose weight healthily, according to an expert. Dr Maneesha Phadke, nutrition and fitness consultant based in Sharjah, earlier this year helped 235 students and 35 staff members of a Dubai-based school shed some weight which was also showcased at the Arab Children's Health Congress in March this year.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Sun 27 Jul 2008, 1:57 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:18 PM

Currently, she is offering services to two more schools and over 300 children.

The issue gains importance in the UAE as, according to a recent Global School Health Survey conducted among 200 children from between 13 and 15 years, revealed that 33.6 per cent of them were either overweight or were at risk of becoming overweight.

"Getting children motivated to lose weight was the toughest challenge," she explains.

"The Lifestyle/Weight Watchers Club, which I set up in Westminster School starting last year, was to motivate the children to lose weight," she says.

According to Dr Maneesha, the children started flocking to her office once results were seen.

"The tough part was encouraging them. Once they were open to discussion, I took the suggestive approach by encouraging them to exercise and eat right," she said, adding that results started showing within a week to 10 days.

"Members are encouraged to gradually give up unhealthy food and drink also change old unhealthy habits to a healthier lifestyle. Their weight is regularly monitored and suitable changes are made. Members also meet with their support groups to swap success stories and encourage uplift each other," explains Dr Maneesha.

"Losing 10 per cent of weight can give you the self-confidence and motivation you need to keep going," she says.

Dr Maneesha also says that there are no standard diet charts. "Each individual has a different body make-up which requires individual attention and guidance," she adds.

Giving tips on maintaining health, Dr Manseesha says that exercise is important to maintain good health, reduce stress, keep the heart strong and healthy and lose weight. Besides diet and exercise, water is a must as it prevents dehydration, maintains body temperature, flushes toxins and keeps the skin moist and supple," she adds.

The focal points for all members include behaviour modification, learning lifestyle management skills, a balanced diet and the importance of regular exercise.

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