The other day, after ushering my children outside, my son asked me, “Mom, why do you always make us go outside and play?” Without even thinking, my answer was very simple, “Because son it is the healthiest thing for you.” I know I’ve written on this topic before, but it’s been a while, so I figured we could all use a refresher.
Obesity in children is a growing epidemic in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the obesity rate in children is at 17%, or about 12.5 million children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 years of age (CDC, 2011). Obesity among children and adolescents has nearly tripled since 1980!
How do we get our youth to become and stay healthy? Below are some ideas:
- Turn off the TV / video games – If video games are a must, then make them active games where the child can get up off the couch / floor, and actually move.
- Send children outside to play – let them ride bikes, rollerblade, run around with friends.
- STOP buying the junk food!! – Eating out every once in a while won’t hurt, but constant junk food is horrible for a growing body. Junk food consists of fast food and sugar packed snacks, including soda and koolaid.
- Provide healthy snacks and water for children – a piece of fruit is a great snack for a growing child, as is water!
- Create a routine for the child – get up around the same time everyday, have meals and snacks around the same time every day, have the same nightly routine to get ready for bed, etc. This will help the child adjust to a new way of living – a healthy way of living.
Yes, this may be a huge change for some families, but definitely worth the change! With the right diet, the right amount of exercise, and a healthy daily routine, he or she will grow stronger and be healthier for life. New Years Resolutions are not just for adults!
Will you be making drastic changes in your lifestyle?
CDC. (2011). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/data.html