Let me give you just a few statistics and personal facts:
- Obesity used to be something that happened only to “old people.” In elementary school, and even in high school, I could count on one hand the kids in my class who were overweight, and I can still give you their names.
- Obesity in children aged 2 – 5 and adolescents 12-19 has more than doubled in the last three decades; in children aged 6-11 obesity has tripled.
- Along with being overweight, these children are prone to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even sleep apnea (interruption of breathing while one is sleeping). All these make them even more susceptible to chronic conditions and less quality of life. They are becoming “old” long before their time!
- Let’s bring this closer to home! In 2008 prevalence of childhood obesity in Ohio was 28.7 %,( AND has been climbing since then). This means that OVER ¼ of our children were 20% or more over their “normal” weight. Many of them were MUCH over their normal weight.
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An intelligent and creative line of attack toward YOUR good health!
OK...Enough of these numbers! What can YOU do? YOU are your child’s most-followed example of what to do and what is acceptable. They would never admit it, but it’s true!
Don’t just talk-the-talk, but WALK-THE-WALK! I mean this literally! Your child is much more likely to be and stay active if they see their parents and their grandparents STAY active. Telling your kid what to do doesn’t mean squat if they see you doing just the opposite. Limit their time sitting or standing in a smaller and smaller box, or at least balance it with equal amounts of movement: i.e. 1 hour working or playing on the computer, 1 hour walking, running, or playing active games. Balance 1 hour playing games or texting on some version of a small screen with a walk/bike/run to their friend’s home, (or at least a drive to meet that friend). There they can have more real interaction. Somehow all these personal devices have taken away most of the actual personal contact.
Plan activity with the rest of your family that involves movement (and challenges). Three of our personal trainers do this on a regular basis with their families, and are sometimes very surprised at the outcome. There are indoor locations for family fun where hoisting their extra pounds of muscle using ropes or rock “handles” are much tougher than their son/daughter/wife doing the same with their smaller frames. THEY may be one who’s really challenged! “Test” yourself, and let the rest of your family excel! Everyone needs that rush of success.
PLAN your mealtimes around what the body has just used or is planning to use, not what you can get by with, handed through the closest drive-through. This is called “appropriate” nutrition: fuel for what the body is expected to accomplish. The most important piece of this is the word “PLAN!” INVOLVE your kids in thinking through meal structure, timing, and what they need to accomplish. You cannot move well or think (LET ALONE BUILD LEAN MUSCLE MASS), without the energy foods: your brain and your body use the same fuel. If that energy needs to be sustained through a practice or game, quick energy foods need to be combined with longer lasting whole grains, lean protein sources, and even good fats.
Clean out the junk! All of us have “cravings” for foods that are NOT appropriate for our goals. Instead of just criticizing and telling them what they SHOULD NOT HAVE…TEACH THEM WHAT IS GOOD AND GOOD FOR THEM! When my kids were small, each was allowed to pick a new (REAL) food when we went grocery shopping…something they had NEVER tried before: BUT IT HAD TO BE REAL…usually only one ingredient! When we got to checkout, there was no crying for candy, gum, etc. They already had their treat in the basket, or more often in their hand. This was their treat when the craving started. Involve the kids with your planning, and teach them (and sometimes yourself!) what really works.
Whatever your political orientation, please check out the website created to help you raise healthier kids (www.letsmove.gov). The goal of “Let’s Move” is to eliminate childhood obesity. They need your help! Your kids, our future, need your help. Let this chorus from a song by Rodney Atkins called "Watching You" stick in your head and heart:
“…Cause I've been watching you dad, ain't that cool
I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
Then I'll be as strong as you and superman
We'll be just alike, hey won't we dad
When I can do everything you do
Cause I've been watching you.”
Linda Cook BS, CPT 937-369-7363 cell 937-748-9905 office firstname.lastname@example.org