As society becomes more health conscious, the concept of wellness is trickling down to the youngest generation, who appear to be much more concerned with their health than previous generations. Reasons for this have been attributed to a crackdown on under-age alcohol and cigarette sales, better parenting and a change in the nature of childhood, with younger people now spending most of their time on social media and other technology. However, this obsession with technology has been a large factor in them doing less exercise, resulting in a worrying number of overweight children.
According to the National Child Measurement Programme for England, 33% of the UK's 10-11-year-olds are obese or overweight, highlighting a need for preventative measures at a younger age. However, relaying this message to the parents of these children is proving to be difficult; 91% of mothers of overweight children and 80% of fathers believe that their children are the right weight, according to a recent NHS survey. Even though this is clearly highlighting obliviousness to obesity in the UK, we also have to be mindful of putting too much pressure on these kids to lose weight, with a recent study finding that an alarming number of teenagers had become overly body-conscious in their early teens.
There are a number of ways that dealing with these situations has become easier, with new events, services, products and apps rethinking how to approach, engage and motivate Generation I (those born after 2000), who now make up 15.6 % of the EU population.
Activity trackers are a modern way for parents to reward and monitor their children's behaviour. With the wearable tech market continuing to grow, it offers a creative solution to get children moving by tapping into their love of technology and turning exercise into a game. By setting goals, getting feedback and being rewarded kids are motivated to do more exercise and continue to wear the tracker.
Originally launched as a wellness festival aimed at Generation I, WellJelly has now introduced a weekly newsletter that includes a series of healthy how-to videos and parenting tips to tap into the benefits of early intervention. The Wellness Festival also continues to run; inviting young people to discover their best and most well selves, in an interactive day of feel good experiences. The company is not only encouraging children to self-educate on health and wellbeing but also feel good in body and soul.
With rates of anxiety, stress and depression on the rise among young people, a hugely important part of development for this generation is to nurture the mind. Headspace, the online meditation platform, has created a new app specifically designed to help children to become more mindful by engaging them in activities that teach the basics of mindfulness. They can practice breathing exercises, visualisations and focus-based meditation. The exercises have even been customised for the child's specific age in order to be more effective.
This generation has already set the pace by drinking and smoking less than ever before. But with the rise of obesity it is now time for young people (and their parents) to take hold of the opportunities they have and create a truly healthy life. With the ease and accessibility of these opportunities, Generation I has the potential to become the healthiest generation yet.