September 9, 2008 by Daisy Rose
Everywhere you look, you’ll see the signs of an obesity epidemic in the United States. Adults struggling with their weight, levering themselves into and out of cars. Many so morbidly obese that they’ll circle a parking lot four or five times before parking rather than be forced to walk an extra hundred feet.
In all honesty, we can not totally place the blame for this on the individuals themselves. Several studies have shown that for a number of people, their chemical and genetic makeup aide in their body’s ability to process certain fats. Sure being 100 plus pounds over weight might have been good in the Ice Age but today this is simply not the case.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in looking at childhood obesity and nutrition. Nutritionists estimate that for every point of body mass index a child is overweight by before puberty, the adult that child will grow into will be three points overweight by the time they’re thirty. Type II diabetes, where body stress from overeating builds up resistance to insulin, is becoming more prevalent in teenagers.
At the ages of 12 – 16 is when most young girls and boys are self conscious about their bodies. Even “normal looking” kids get teased. If we allow our children to continue down a slippery slope toward obesity, we are setting them up for a very difficult childhood. Parents must be told that healthy eating habits and not Slimfast diet shakes or Medifast meals are the key to weight loss and a nutritious lifestyle.
The good news is that this trend can be stopped. In fact, you may be surprised at the simple solution.
Remember when you were a kid? You know, before video games like the Nintendo Wii. You actually had friends who played outside with you. You had energy and used it.
After a long day of playing, you were met with a cool glass of milk, water or juice. A sugary cake or pie were a nice end to a full day of activity and not what’s now become the new breakfast of champions.
Contrary to the popular belief, it is possible to training children to eat healthy foods. Caffeine laced drinks are a prime example. Researchers have uncovered an alarming link between drinking diet sodas and consuming high fat luncheon meets with cases of certain brain cancers. If you gain nothing else from this article, at least follow this one tip, please, do not allow your kids to drink soft drinks. Remember, water first before any juices or milks.
When they have snacks, give them fruits and vegetables, or baked goods that are also low in sugar. Make sure that you have a dedicated family meal every evening, where everyone talks about what they did during the day – these reinforce that meal times are an important social occasion, not a pit stop between bouts with the Game Cube or Wii.
Also, make it a habit to make your time after meals an active one. Rather than eating a big meal and head up stairs to sleep, why not take the family for a nice walk in the park or around the block. You’ll have time to connect, the children will release a lot of their built up energy and they will learn that an active lifestyle is part of a healthy routine. Not only will you feel better, you’ll also connect with your kids.
Have you ever heard the acronym “WYSIWYG”? It stands for “What You See Is What You Get”. Well, that is the reality your children are faced with on a daily basis. They will never raise their standards of healthy living beyond that of your own. If you are serious about having an impact on their lives, ask yourself this question, what can I do today that will demonstrate to my family that I am committed to living a long and fruitful life.
By Dorthy Weatherbush
About the Author:
Dorthy Weatherbush is a child advocate committed to ending childhood obesity. She is the author of several articles exposing the hidden dangers behind many of the most respected weight loss programs around.