Diet and Fitness – Tackling Childhood Obesity

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Diet and fitness aren’t things only adults have to consider. Approximately 1 in 5 children in North America are clinically obese. What is also concerning is that this number has tripled since 1980. A combination of sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition are creating a scary trend. The personal health and emotional costs these children will face will be considerable. And the cost on society at large will put a strain on already tight personal and governmental budgets. These facts should be driving parents, teachers, and all childcare providers to encourage children to be more active.

As parents, we don’t all have the time and money to enroll our children in a myriad of activities. Many of us are single parents and we are overwhelmed with just getting our families through the regular work day. That is why a workout plan is so very important for you and your children. Find whatever time you can spare in your busy week and see if there is an activity in which you can get your child involved. If you can fit it into your schedule, put it into your calendar and make sure you don’t miss it! Leverage other parents so you can take turns driving the kids to practices and games. Find low-cost sports (soccer and basketball come to mind) where equipment costs are at a minimum.

Make simple changes in the way you eat at home. Stop buying all the pop and sugary juices. Drink more water (this is the first and easiest way to cut a lot of empty calories and sugars out of your diet). Keep lots of fruit around the house for snacks. If you are too busy to cook regularly find healthy forms of fast food. Your choices directly impact your children.

Lead by example. As far as diet and fitness are concerned, the apple doesn’t usually fall too far from the tree. Odds are if your children are carrying too much weight you could probably due to address your own extra weight. You should develop your own workout plan. Do activities with your kids on the weekends. Play soccer, ultimate Frisbee, basketball, catch, tennis, bike rides, hike, swim, or just take a regular long walk together. Keeping fit is a great way to connect with your kids.

The best thing about making fitness a part of your life is that these changes will be sure to make the quality of life better for you and your children now and in the long run.