Obesity in children is on the rise, with one in six children in the UK now classifying as obese. Kids need a healthy balanced diet to help them grow, but with increased availability of junk foods, and the popularity of computer games and other sedentary activities, its no wonder children are consuming more energy than they burn.
Being overweight can have a myriad of negative affects on your child’s health, not to mention their self esteem, but one less known outcome is the affect obesity can have on their feet.
The extra weight can flatten the foot, which strains the plantar fascia and can lead to pain in the heel, arch and balls of the feet. In addition, obesity makes children more prone to stress fractures in the heel bone.
Get your child active – as you probably know, this is easier said than done! Not all children take to team sports, and if your child is already obese, they may feel particularly intimidated by team sports. Start by getting active with your child at home – playing with a ball in the backyard, shooting hoops etc. This will improve their motor skills - and confidence – in a ‘safe’ environment.
If your child is already overweight, their feet may feel sore during or after sports, further discouraging them. Make sure they have comfortable sports shoes, with plenty of wriggle room for their toes and a cushioning support system. Martial Arts is a great alternative for children who don’t take to ball sports. These are often done barefoot which is a great way for your child to strengthen their ankles and develop proprioception.
Your child is never too young to get active, and playing with your child is a great way to spend ‘quality’ time.
Research Podiatrist for Skeanie