Obesity in American children is growing at an alarming rate. More children are over-weight then ever before and 15% of children are obese. What is the reason American children are getting so fat? There are many factors that are causing children to be over-weight.
Fast food chains only began in the 1960’s and during that time the vegetarian movement started up as well as Julia Child’s French cuisine. Television added more channels and HBO became the new kid on the block. I remember running home from school just to be sure I got to watch my favorite show, Dark Shadows. Technology began perfecting color TV’s and they began to become more affordable. So to began the start of weight problems in America.
Today most families are making it by with both parents working. As a result parents are coming home with less energy to get up and go. So what happens to the kids? They start watching more TV and playing on the computer. An average child spends 2 to 4 hours on the computer. Then there’s the TV and games played on the TV. Combine these two nonphysical activities with extra food and it equals weight-gain.
How can parents help? By changing eating habits and getting involved in exercise themselves. Children learn by example, if you’re on the computer or watching TV then your children will be doing the same. There are simple things you can do with your kids that can help the take off weight. If you live in a high rise start by walking up one or two flights then take the elevator up from there. Each week see if you can add another flight. If you can walk to your mail box or to the nearest store instead of taking the car. Encourage your children to walk to the bus stop or over to the neighbors instead of driving them everywhere. If you have stairs in your house send the kids up with their coats or if they are little go up one by one while counting than back down and start again.
As a dog trainer I not only see out of control, over-weight dogs but I also see families who need help getting fit. I help families by getting them all involved in the training of their dogs. I start a group of parents with children and their dogs out on a half hour power walk then immediately following we do a forty minute training session. Not only are families getting a handle on their uncontrollable over-weight dogs but they are also getting fit while having fun. My class is called, “Lose the pouch with your pooch,” and is held only once a week for six weeks but families are encouraged to practice on their own during the week. There are many activities that are fun and inexpensive that families can get involved with it’s just a matter of doing it.
Here are a few points to remember when beginning an activity with your child.
1. Start out slow: Don’t do too much on the first day, you don’t want to make it so hard that your
child doesn’t want to do it again.
2. Always join in: If your child is playing hop-scotch join in, or jump rope join in.
3. Remember every step you make with your child is helping him/her to lose weight. So ask them to
help bring in the groceries or take out the garbage.
4. Make changes in your diet by adding more vegetables and fruit walk past the chips and sugar
5. Be creative with fitness ideas, the goofier the better.
6. Remember any movement is better than none so just do it!
It’s almost summer and soon everyone will be wearing shorts and swimsuits so start getting fit and have fun.