With America's increasingly sedentary lifestyle, it's no wonder that children are becoming more overweight. In fact, the rate of childhood obesity has reached epic proportions with over 10 million children aged 6-10 being categorized as overweight or obese. Their futures don't look much brighter with statistics showing that nearly 70% of these obese and overweight children carry that categorization into adulthood. These numbers are disturbing and entirely unnecessary.
It makes my heart sad and my stomach sick to see such small bodies carrying so much weight. Their hearts and lungs are not developed enough to deal with the physical demands that carrying excess weight requires. While a sedentary lifestyle is a significant causative factor to the rise of overweight children, there are other contributing factors as well. These include:
- Increased consumption of prepackaged and processed foods
- Increased use of hormones and pesticides in foods
- Lack of any real, honest knowledge of what healthy food really is
- A cultural acceptance of being overweight
No matter what role you play in a child's life, be it a mother, a father, an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or teacher, it is up to you to teach these little people how to be healthy and how to make the right decisions to lead them on a better path. Here are some tips to get moving in the right direction:
Tip 1: Get Moving!
Movement has become an afterthought in most people's minds these days, especially children's. With many schools now cutting back or completely eliminating physical education, a greater emphasis on exercise needs to be including during the rest of the child's day. Take a walk after dinner or have the child walk the dog every day as part of their chores. Do relay races just for fun or play tag. Do whatever you can think of to get everyone up and moving.
Tip 2: Be a Good Influence
"Do as I say and not as I do" does not apply when it comes to getting your kids to live a healthier life. You need to live a healthy life as well and set an example for them to follow. Eat healthy meals, get out and play with your kids, never talk about how unhappy you are with your weight, and never make fun of overweight people in front of your children. These seem like obvious things to live by, but being aware of them will go a long way at getting and keeping your children healthy and happy.
Tip 3: Set Limits
These limits need to be on the types of food your children eat, the quality of food your children eat, and how much television, video game, and computer time your child has every day. This might be tough to do in the beginning, but it is crucial for getting you and your child on a healthier path.
Now is the time to start taking steps towards improving the health of not only your child, but your whole family as well. Remember to make it fun and take baby steps and realize that what you're doing will forever change your child's future.