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The United States Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 17% of children aged 2 to 19 years are obese. That’s 12.5 million children in the US.

We put on weight when the amount of energy taken in is more than the energy we give out. It’s as simple as that – energy in/energy out.

There are all sorts of reasons why Person A needs this many calories per day to stay healthy when Person B needs that many. “I’ve got a slow metabolism”, “we’re all like this in my family” – sounds familiar? Well, I’m sure it’s true.

But the simple beauty of energy in/energy out is that it doesn’t matter what the person next to you may be eating, drinking or doing. What matters is what YOU are doing. If we each pay attention to what our own, individual body needs, energy-wise, then we can maintain a healthy balance and a healthy weight.

Philippa Boston is a journalist, writer, and National Trainer for the HENRY organisation, which works to prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in families with young children.