With obesity becoming a major health issue for people everywhere, the problem of childhood obesity is also gaining more attention - our children are getting fatter and less fit than before. Survey has found that from the early 1980's up to the late 2000's, children are fatter, heavier, and weaker, where 17% of all children are overweight. There are a number of reasons why this is so - starting off with poor diet and eating habits, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, and the list goes on.
Looking at the problem of adult obesity, it is not surprising that our children are fatter and weaker than ever, and there is a direct relationship between the diet and lifestyle of the children and their weight problems. Studies done on vegetarian diets have found that families which follow a vegetarian diet are less likely to experience obesity problems in both adult and children, and that healthy vegetarian meals for kids can help prevent childhood obesity.
Studies have also indicated that children who grow up following vegetarian diets develop within the normal range, and they generally have lower body weight and skinfold thickness compared to non-vegetarians.
In a study involving 82 vegetarian children aged 6 to 17 and young adults 18 to 30, the average daily dietary intake was assessed. Measurements such as weight, height, skinfold thickness, and physical fitness were recorded. This study found that the overall dietary energy intake was lower than recommended for the vegetarian participants; however height and weight did not differ greatly from reference data.
The study did find that skinfold thickness were lower for all the vegetarian age groups, and was especially lower for the 10 to 15 year old girls group. The vegetarian children were found to be equally physically fit as reference groups. These results indicated that vegetarians have lower body weight and skinfold thickness compared to non-vegetarians. While vegetarians scored slightly lower on strength tests, they scored better on cardio-respiratory tests. 
When it comes to fitness and vegetarian diets, studies suggest that there really isn't much benefit nor detriment of vegetarian diets on physical performance capacity. While there have been concerns about protein intake in vegetarians, data suggests that all essential and non-essential amino acids can be supplied by plant food sources, as long as a wide variety of foods is consumed. 
Don't hesitate to cook your kids healthy vegetarian meals! Provide them with a wide variety of foods that will supply them with abundant nutrition that aids their growth, and at the same time, feeding your children healthy vegetarian meals will improve their overall health, and lower their risks for obesity. Vegetarian meals for kids don't have to be boring either - it can be quick, easy, healthy, and more importantly, delicious and enjoyable to eat. You can learn how with Quick and Easy Chinese Vegetarian Cooking.
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