Australian author champions child health in a fun way
Extract from an interview with author, John Hopkins
Q: Why did you write these books?
A: Children have never spent as much time sitting down. Imagine what this is doing to their brains, their breathing and their hearts. Imagine what?s happening to their joint function. It seems to me children do not understand their bodies and as a result problems such as child obesity are now major issues. So I decided to write and illustrate a series of picture books (Hi) for very young children and parents, that address some of these issues in a fun, affordable and involving way.
Q: But aren?t children healthier today than ever before?
A: Yes in many ways they are healthier, but it seems to me some of the basics are being ignored. For instance the overweight and obese now account for 23% of Australian children and adolescents. That?s about 250,000 kids! And these are conservative estimates. Over the last decade, obesity in general has trebled. The result is children with physical and mental problems ? imagine being ignored and ridiculed in the playground - what a dreadful way to go out into the world.
Q: But isn?t there lots of information out there already?
A: Yes there is, but it tends to be all very sensible and not on bookshelves. More importantly I couldn?t easily find information with which very young children and their parents could get involved. And involvement is the absolute key to making sure kids understand this issue.
Q: So how will these books change any of these lifestyle issues?
A: Because I have written the Hi series in a fun way with smatterings of naughtiness, they strike a cord with young children, parents and grandparents. In fact, we?ve researched the books with hundreds of children, parents and grandparents and following their input I?m confident they hit the mark. In the end all I want is for children to appreciate that their bodies and minds are more precious than an X Box!
Q: You mentioned that you wanted them to be affordable ?
A: Yes, picture books tend to be expensive so we?ve done everything to make sure each Hi book is under $5. I want everyone to be able to afford them.