Written by KIMf of Keep It Moving Fitness:
According to the United States Center for Disease Control, more than one out of every three children are overweight or obese. We’ve tried to come up with at least a thousand and one reasons that may attribute to this epidemic but if you really sit down and ponder, the problem derives from the activities that take place in the home. It is only natural to think that we must work hard and long hours to land that promotion or close the next deal at work so that we can better provide for our families. How can we dream American and white picketed fences if we don’t have the money or the credentials that it requires? I mean really, what harm is there in an extra 30 minutes answering emails on the blackberry? It’s so my family can live a better life… Or is it?
The lack of physical activity and bad eating habits is a direct result of two parents tipping the scale of work and family time, with work being the heavier load. Children don’t develop these bad habits as they exit the womb. They learn them from people who can’t rid themselves of them. Yes, friends and playmate contribute to curiosity of bad habits but that curiosity can be short-lived if healthy habits were better enforced at home. Think about it from the view point of a working parent. The day usually starts with morning breakfast that is most likely PopTarts, cereal filled with sugar, or a piece of jelly toast as you push them out the door in time to catch the school bus. Instead of packing that “old school” brown bag with healthy homemade lunch, you stuff it with pre-packaged foods like Lunchables that are filled with sodium, fat and only God knows how many preservatives. Or Even worse you throw them a few dollars for lunch so that they can spend it the vending machines filled with loads of slow killer foods. After school, Kids don’t even get the choices of playing outside or participating in community sports because both parents are still at work. BUMMER! They are forced to go to day care programs which, besides from doing homework or taking a nap, provides no activity either. Finally, the sun lowers, you and the kids are home and because you are exhausted from work or you have more work to do for the next day, you barely even prepare dinner. You throw together a microwavable “quick meal” and that’s only if you didn’t stop at a fast food joint while emailing and driving on the way home. The kids eat, you force them to finish homework, and send them either to bed or downstairs to video-games so that you can do what…..WORK …and for what? So that you can go to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again not realizing the amount a years you are taking off of your children’s life as you climb each step in the corporate latter. Is it really worth it?
I am in no way knocking hard work or success and my examples above may be a tad bit extreme. I am only trying to emphasis the importance of balance and planning our kids into our lives just as we do that 2:00 conference call. It may take a few months longer to land that promotion if you actually cut your day off at 5:30 and get home to take the kids of for 60 minutes of play time but its so much more worth it in the end. Not everyone wants to be the stay at home mom or dad and that isn’t the only alternative but a willingness to switch a few things up can safe your child from weight causing diseases like type two diabetes, which is on a progressive rise.
I know these things are easier said than done because truth remains we absolute must work so that our children can have any kind life at all, not to mention having a “better” life. Here are a few tips that may help you incorporate health and fitness into your child’s life and it may help you stay fit as well:
- Take one day out the week to pre-cook fresh foods: Sunday, is usually a great day to pre plan your meals for the week. You can freeze some items so that when you get home from work a simple worming up and loading it with greens is all that’s needed
- Wake up an hour earlier for breakfast: This is great because you may not get to see the kids all day. Cherish the moments. It also allows you to put more thought into a healthier breakfast that excludes all the sugar that most pre packaged foods contains. A healthier breakfast gives the kids more energy to perform better throughout the day as well.
- Incorporate the “Sometimes” foods concept with your family: You don’t want to deprive your children of the things that makes being a kid so much more fun. You don’t want them to feel as though they are being punished because sodas, pizza, chips, cookies are considered bad. Yes, they are bad but they are fun and as long as they aren’t eaten everyday they can make a child smile. Explain the meaning of “sometimes” food with your children and even reward a fun activity like theme park when they do things like turn down pizza because they already had their “sometimes” food that week.
- 60 minutes of play a day: If you watch NFL at all then you have heard of this. The idea is to incorporate 60 minutes where the kids cut all electronics off and head outside to play the old school way. Make it a family thing if you can by incorporating team sports like kickball, football, swimming, that is fun for everyone.
- Eliminate the bad choices: If there aren’t any sodas in the house then it’s really not that hard to choose something else. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported that soda consumption by children has risen by 30 percent in the past decade and now accounts of more than 10 percent of their total calories. Stock the fridge with healthy juices and fruits and when its time for that “sometimes food” you can take a family trip to the pizza or ice cream shop and get it together.
You are your child’s role model, they look up to you, they brag about you, they dream to be like you so be a
good example for them and make some healthy changes..