Did you see recent story regarding outcry over new childhood obesity ad in California? Here’s a link:
Essentially, there’s been an overwhelming amount of complaints against the ad, which used Photoshop to make a child look obese for the ad. Personally, that doesn’t concern me. I’m sure there’d be just as much outrage if the child had actually been obese. What concerned me more was that people such as Marilyn Wann of FAT!SO? and self-titled “fat acceptance activist” without a single medical or health credential to her name, is given public platform as an expert on this subject.
Don’t get me wrong, no man, woman or child should be discriminated against because of their weight. BUT I do think that it’s totally irresponsible for us as a society to embrace obesity as acceptable. It’s just not healthy, period. The detrimental health affects of being overweight are well researched and documented.
We hear the word so often we’ve become immune to the true meaning; “overweight” means your body is carrying more weight than it’s bones, muscles and organs are capable of supporting while maintaining healthy bodily functions.
That unending daily strain inevitably leads to major health issues for children who eat poorly, such as High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Osteoporosis, Coronary Artery Disease, Stroke, Gallstones, Liver problems, as well as a host of hormonal issues, such as early puberty, Type 2 Diabetes, and later on Erectile Dysfunction. Overweight children frequently develop breathing problems, such as asthma and even, sleep apnea. Kids are uneasy about wearing headgear with their braces, how thrilled are they going to be about strapping on a sleep apnea mask?
Americans adults currently spend $147-210 billion on yearly medical cost for health issues related to their obesity. These obese adults were all once children, impressionable little sponges who learned by the daily permitted behaviors of parents, teachers and caregivers. Unfortunately, kids don’t pop out with health knowledge and restraints in tact. Without any structure, they’ll grab convenient food available, gravitating towards sweeter foods, and frequently stuff themselves silly with garbage before their brain catches up with their tiny full tummy, leaving no room for essential veggies and protein at mealtime. And forget about being able to move and engage in any activities. They desperately need guidance on what constitutes a healthy meal, portion sizes, when it’s ok to indulge and how to play sports.
We are in the midst of an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in this country. Telling kids “its OK to be fat” is asinine and cruel. It’s time for a paradigm shift. Let’s stop lying to kids and telling them “it’s ok to be fat. I’m too busy/tired to play, have a 24oz soda & another piece of cake. You don’t have to play sports. Of course you can spend all day in front of the TV/Computer/iPad/Play Station.”
Instead, it’s time to get kids healthy, active and within a healthy weight range for their age and height. With that in mind, here are some great workout and healthy ideas for kids:
It doesn’t matter what sport, it doesn’t matter how competitive. Just get them involved in playing. This will teach them teamwork, keep them active and hopefully breed a love for physical activity.
Get Active with Your Kids.
Start engaging in activities with you child, take them on hikes, bike rides, play catch in the back yard. It really doesn’t matter what, just make sure they’re moving. Check out the NFL’s great initiative called Play 60, which encourages kids to get at least 60 minutes of “play” or physical activity every day.
Teach Kids Basic Calisthenics.
Calisthenics are a great way to help keep kids in shape using just their own bodyweight. Teach them how to do squats, pushups, pull-ups, inverted rows, hip thrusts and various abdominal exercises. By doing this you will help them develop muscles, tendons and bones as well as keeping body fat to minimum. It will increase their metabolism and develop coordination and body awareness. There is no age that is too young to start teaching kids calisthenics, these are bodyweight only movements that follow natural and functional movement patters.
Enroll Kids in Gymnastics.
There is no better activity for the overall health and wellness for kids than gymnastics. Gymnastics teaches body awareness, posture, core stability, discipline and flexibility. It will be a great grounding for any future sporting participation and aid in preventing many future health issues. I’m not saying that you need to enroll your child in “elite gymnastics” requiring 20-30 hours per week, but going to gymnastics class 3-6 hours a week would yield significant benefits.