Fat children seem to be a sign of the times and an unfortunate byproduct of modern day society in the West. It’s a weighty issue not just for youngsters themselves but society as a whole. Obesity in kids has tripled in the US in the last 30 years and around 20% of kids are obese and more than a third are either overweight or obese. Diet, exercise and lifestyle are important factors and need to change if Generation F is going to slim down in the future.
The facts about childhood obesity are nothing short of shocking and anyone who really remembers fit, thin kids from their childhood will probably also remember lots of running around and climbing of trees. It’s true that nutrition can be a complex subject and some people need help to achieve a balanced diet. However, on a basic but important level the fact remains that if your calorie intake exceeds your calorie use then you’re going to put on weight.
With kids watching hours of TV each day and programmes and stations targeted at them continuously, it’s not surprising that even today’s toddlers are less active than they used to be. Tweens, aged 7-12, and teenagers are all consumer groups bombarded by advertising and marketing when it comes to what they eat too. Add into this mix video games and social networking with increased urban lifestyles and you’ve got all the right ingredients for a generation of fast food fatties who would rather chat online than exercise.
Studies show that being overweight as a child means you are more likely to be obese as an adult and the health implications for devastating diseases such as Type 2 diabetes is just one of the frightening consequences of letting children slip into a sedentary lifestyle. But what to do? Parents can hardly throw their children out the door with a skipping rope, skateboard or basketball and make like it’s America 1979. Or can they?
Children might not want to give up their electronic gadgets anytime soon but parents can be a big influence. It’s not that children hate exercise or activities but just that they sometimes lack the encouragement, opportunity and social influence to turn off the TV and go and do something more interesting instead. Exasperated parents who try to get their cave dwelling sons and daughters out of the house on a bright sunny day often feel that the moping around and arguments are not worth it.
It is better for adults to not use activity as a threat as it undoubtedly then becomes something negative and unpleasant in the mind of a youngster. Finding interesting ways to exercise and creating a good energy about activities can really work wonders and urbanites who can find some green space have no excuse to not get moving either.
Of course parents have enough on their plates as it is. If you’re not working out yourself then you can hardly blame your kids for not doing much. Obesity in childhood is a dangerous trend and rather than playing the blame game parents need to inject the idea that being active makes you feel good, look good and should be part of everyday life.
Struggling to get your kids active? Contact us and see if we can help you and your family.