Growing up, I was the fat kid. I was the book worm who would rather go to the library than go play outside.
I remember very clearly in elementary school there was myself and one other fat girl in my grade. She was a bit bigger than me but intelligent and kind. We were often picked last for teams in P.E. and were the last two to finish doing the mile run. (Or for us it really should have been called the mile walk).
It was miserable being that girl.
What worries me today, in most grades and schools, there is not just “that girl”. Or two. Or even three. Now it may be a quarter or a third of the class that falls into that obese category. A child born after 2000 has a 1 in 3 chance of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In the United States 23 million children and teenagers between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese or overweight.
Those are pretty scary statistics.
So what can we do? Just like any problem, we have to start with baby steps. I want you to check out this web site:
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the web site above is filled with information, links and tips on how you can help turn the tide on this epidemic. It will take each one of us taking action to make a difference.
So here are a few tips I have based on what I know as a trainer and as a former obese child.
- Kick the soda habit. I, unfortunately, lived on the stuff growing up. It’s what my whole family drank so I really didn’t know any better. Kick it for your health and for your child’s.
- Keep kid friendly snacks in the house. Have fruit, nuts, low fat cheese, low fat yogurt, nut butters, whole grain breads and pre cut veggies at the ready. I would always reach for what was easy in my house. That was normally Little Debbie cakes, cheese (not low fat) and crackers, chips or white bread with fatty lunch meat. Limit these things in your house.
- Don’t let your child set the menu or meal times. Know what your child likes but also set boundaries for their unhealthy favorites. Make healthier versions of their favorite fast food treats like chicken fingers or pizza.
- Be active together. Have a Wii sports tournament for the whole family or get everyone out for a hike or bike ride.
- Don’t make it about losing weight. Make it about being healthy. Encourage healthy eating and physical activity. Be a good example of both.
Okay healthy parents, what other tips can you share to help combat this issue one family at a time?