Over the years, we’ve gone from playing in the cul de sac, yelling car while playing football in the street, and trying to rush home before curfew to sitting on the couch, eating chips, and playing Fortnite. Don’t get me wrong I always took in my fair share of video games (and still do), but nowadays the average kid is different in so many ways. Technology is super advanced now, and it keeps changing. There’s a 5 year old that can work my laptop faster than I can even think to turn it on. It’s crazy right? Yes, and no. Technology does serve a major purpose in the advancements of mankind, but the crazy part to me is that this infatuation with technology is part of the reason why childhood obesity numbers are higher than ever. A medical study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that 35 percent of U.S. children age 2 to 19 are overweight. 35 percent!?!?!?! So for every 100 kids in that age range, 35 of them are not living right. That’s nuts! Especially considering that this number is up 6% since 1999. Have we learned nothing over the years?
Okay, so let’s take a step back. How do we fight childhood obesity? How do create a better path for the future of tomorrow and not doom them to being morbidly obese with tons of doctors bills and trying to figure out how to roll out of the bed at age 30? Easy. We show them the right way to live. So, I thought of 4 easy tips to get kids on the straight and narrow. Things so simple that you can make the change NOW. Correction: Things so simple that we NEED to make the change NOW!
1. Limit Exposure to Technology – This might seem rudimentary and very obvious, but apparently not considering the whole reason for the post. It’s okay to let kids be kids with whatever technology is available to them, within means. Too much time with tech can affect many aspects of their life including their sleeping habits, attention span, and their overall physical activity. However, we can correct these issues by limiting the locations of our TVs (i.e. only the family room) or by giving our kids a time limit to play video games.
2. Create an Interests in Sports/Physical Activity Early On – I realize that jobs demand so much from us which can often throw off our work/life balance, but our kids are our priority. There are plenty of sports leagues and after-school programs that promote an active lifestyle for kids these days. For example, my aunt, a single-mother of two, has done very well with making sure that her sons stay very active. They have played all different sports from since I can remember and continue to do so, because she introduced them at an early age.
3. Teach them Nutrition – Now, I’ll go on record and say that my favorite food hands down is pizza, but that is not my everyday diet. Growing up, our parents made sure to always have a fresh salad or fresh green vegetables available. We always ate chicken, fish, and turkey with brown rice or some type of healthy meal. We were limited on sugars, so we never really had/have a desire to eat much candy or cake then or to this day. Instilling the fundamentals of nutrition within our kids will set them up for success in the long-term. If you yourself need help in this subject, then there are plenty of resources that will at least point you in the right direction.
4. Be An Example of Fitness – Children learn a lot through imitation. If we took the time to better ourselves, then there’s a good chance that our kids will follow suit. Take the dog out for a walk and bring your kids along. Tell them your going to the gym, because you want to keep your summer body all year long. Embed in their minds that health and fitness is a major part of your life and that it is important to take care of your body. I guarantee they’ll want to do the same. There’s plenty of videos of mother/daughter yoga duos on YouTube as proof.
We’ve truly got to do better by our younger society. They really will pave the way for generations to come, but it is up to us to continue to pave a way for them now. We can not continue to advance if we’re too busy worrying about weight loss supplements and doctors visits for gastric bypass. Take my advice and help these kids live a better life for themselves. We owe it to them, and they deserve it.