Sitting at an outdoor café watching people come and go, it’s nothing short of frightful as I notice the number of people who pass by carrying a sugary, creamy and chocolaty drink. Cell phone in one hand, and a mocha, caramel, whipped cream whatever in the other. Startling. Then I notice something even more shocking, some of these drinks are being consumed by children, and many of the kids drinking these designer milkshakes are overweight; hardly a necessary treat for the child.
When it comes to being fit, the bottom line is simple: input must not exceed output. According to statistics, one-third of all American children are overweight; and if you are inclined to be even remotely observant, it’s all too easy to see that these numbers are real.
Children need proper nutrition and must consume a considerable amount of food to properly grow so of course kids need to eat, but it’s what they are consuming that directly impacts their overall physical health. Let’s face it, fast food is unhealthy, so it should never be considered proper nutrition. However, should you decide to forego all the warnings of the dangers (fat, sodium, etc.) of fast food/junk food, then by all means make certain that your children are physically active for a considerable part of each day. If children sit in front of a television or computer screen for a fair amount of time each day with little or no physical activity, their health may be in jeopardy.
While on a long bike trek yesterday, I rode past several parents along the trail who included children in their workout. One mother was running with her infant in a jogger/stroller while alongside her biked two enthusiastic elementary school aged children; they were having fun. Although far from remarkable, it could not have been the easiest task to maneuver children along the trail. However, and more importantly, she was out there with her kids who were actively participating. As they navigated their way along, the children witnessed people biking, jogging and/or walking the trail. Although not all parents who include children in their workout are physically fit themselves, the point is they are out there and setting an excellent example.
In order to eradicate the obesity epidemic of American children each parent must take responsibility for not only what their children are consuming each day, but also how much physical activity they are engaging in. Whatever is being organized as physical education at school should not be counted as part of a child’s daily physical activity. Pairing proper nutrition and daily vigorous physical activity is a winning combination for all. Part of good parenting is making sure your child’s input does not exceed his/her output. If your child is truly physically active for much of the day, you know your child does not have a weight problem. That being said, if you need to ask, “Is my child overweight?” I’m going to assume your question is rhetorical.
I’ll conclude my rant with a few words of wisdom from Rah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aDvu3cSdX0, a Chicago area master trainer, “Food is fuel for the body. Never take better care of your car than you would your body” or your child.