Now there are calls for nursery aged children to be taught healthy eating in similar clubs.
In just one week in July, almost 170 children between the ages of 11 and 15 attended classes in Wales launched by a weight loss club.
Kick boxing enthusiast Ethan, 13, joined a Slimming World class in Caerphilly county when he discovered he could not compete in the right weight category for his age at the kick-boxing world championships.
He explained that he didn’t want to be a in a weight category with boys taller and heavier than him, so he decided to lose weight.
Since joining the slimming class in April he has lost 6lbs (2.7kg).
He told the BBC how he used to snack on half a packet of biscuits with a cup of tea as a treat, but that his bad habits made him feel grumpy and sad at times. Now he eats more fat free yoghurts instead.
According to Public Health Wales figures, over 28% of five-year-olds are overweight, and 12.8% are obese.
Now the National Obesity Forum has said children need to learn about healthy eating earlier.
While there is emphasis on healthy eating at primary and secondary school, there needs to be more information going out at nursery age to establish a mind-set children can take with them throughout childhood and into adulthood.
A Slimming World spokesperson said: “The emphasis is on praising young people for healthy eating and increased physical activity and improving their self-esteem and confidence rather than weight loss.”
It is important to remember that healthy eating is as much about psychological health and emotional well-being as it is about physical health. Being overweight can cause children to feel inferior, sluggish and guilty. Resultant bullying can be a huge knock to levels of self-esteem and confidence.
Often, these are problems that follow individuals long after they have reached a healthy weight. To find out how counselling can help, please visit our Low Self Esteem page.
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