Childhood obesity, who is at fault?
There is a lot of talk about childhood obesity being a society problem and we do have some things in our society that adds to the problem. Junk food advertising, gym classes being removed, and video game sports replacing real sports are all issues. The truth is it is a tough thing to navigate your child into good health habits, but the responsibility falls with the parents.
Let’s start with good habits that need to be developed. Establish family outdoor activities like bike riding, ball tossing, hiking, nature walking, or skiing to name a handful. The next thing is harder, you have to lead by example, and yes you need to have a workout program. Kids will only listen to advice if you earn it. Telling your children to live healthy while you lead a sedentary life does not work. It is like telling your kid not to drink and drive while having a beer in your car, well not that bad but you get my point.
Establish good eating habits at home by having good food available. Some of people’s fondest memories are around meals and desert. If you have doughnuts and snack cakes around all the time they are not a treat but a staple. Make going out for ice cream an event not a trip to the fridge. An apple or some grapes make a good snack. Whenever possible try to have whole foods and less processed stuff.
The biggest challenge is to make this a positive endeavor. Fitness is about being the best you that you can be not looking like a supermodel. Children are fragile and if they have a negative self image already we do not want to make things worse. Try and make it about you not them. Talk to them and find out what they would like to do outside and plan around that. Let them believe the exercise is about you getting in shape to improve your health and you need their help to stay motivated. When you do exercise make sure they see you, getting a lunch workout from work does not show them your example. Do some workouts at home.
The family memories and together time could be priceless. Good luck and good health to you and your children!