Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Obese Children! It all starts at home.

It's time to stop playing the blame game, and put the responsibility back on us parents.

Anytime Fitness is teaming up with COAK, the Coalition of Angry Children, in an attempt to make a real difference with our drastically rising childhood obesity rates.

Finally, someone is having the guts to put the responsibility on the people who can actually make an impact, the parents.

 Everyone has a theory on why kids are so overweight; it's school lunches, it's video games,  it's fast-food. NO! NO! NO! Who has the power to control all of those excuses?  The parents!

I have never been more proud to be part of the Anytime Fitness team.  I am a manager and personal trainer at an Anytime Fitness so sure, I am a bit biased, but this COAK is the real deal. It can make a difference. You see children do not respond well to the "do as I say and not as I do" mentality.  The fact is, if you want your kids to eat healthier and you want your kids to be more active, then guess what? You need to eat healthier and you need to be more active. Parents need to quit putting the responsibility of their children's health in the hands of strangers. I mean, who loves your kids more than you? I hope you said no one, and if you really love your kids then you want them to live a healthy happy life, right? Well then you need to make fitness a part of your new lifestyle, and if you make the change your kids will follow.

I feel my tone is rather harsh, and chances are if you are reading this, you have already started living a healthier lifestyle.  This message isn't meant to be attacking.  Childhood obesity is something very close to my heart. Growing up overweight was extremely painful and put me into episodes of depression several times. I know my parents loved me, but they were terrible role models when it came to health. They were very supportive, but I had to make the change as a 14 year-old after I decided I had had enough of living that way.

Now, as a parent with three young boys, I am so proud that they are not overweight like I was. They see how important fitness and exercise is to me and they exercise with me and on their own. We eat healthy as a family, though as children they are not on a strict diet like I am.  Once in a while they have treats during the week, but it's not everyday. After all, we don't have to totally deprive our kids, but we also don't have to let them have junk food every single day.

Important tips:

  1. School lunches can be unhealthy and until that changes, do what I did in school, bring a bag lunch. A bag lunch does not have to include a treat. A sandwich, yogurt, fruit, and a milk is enough to curb your children's hunger.
  2. Go on family walks, or try the new craze geocaching.  It's a fun way to get some family exercise.
  3. Save fast food for no more than one day a week, besides being good for your health, when it happens on rare occasions it's more special.  And teach your kids about making the proper choices when you do eat out at fast food places.  Choose mandarin oranges or apples instead of fries and milk instead of pop.
  4. Allow your kids 30 minutes of video games a day and if they want more time, set up a system where they have to earn it.  At our house, my kids earn a ticket for 10 minutes of playing time for every 10 minutes they exercise.
  5. Limit drinks to water, low fat milk and 100% juice and give your kids no more than 8 ounces of juice a day.  Don't buy drinks with high fructose corn syrup, which is in many sports drinks and juice not labeled 100% juice.  Limit pop to special occasions. 
  6. Busy life?  Then instead of going out to eat every night, prepare several meals ahead of time, freeze them and quickly re-heat them before you go out to your children's many activities.  Have pre-cut fruit and veggies in the fridge to grab as a quick snack when you're on the go.
  7. If you are still too busy, then cut back on the activities. When it comes to obesity it is FAR more important to eat a healthy dinner then to be playing a sport and eating fast food. The kids really do not burn that many calories playing baseball and the amount of calories in fast-food are far greater then the amount lost in such activities. 
  8. Most important, and the point of COAK, as a parent you need to exercise and you need to eat healthy. Join a gym and show your kids that this type lifestyle is important.  Kids want to be like their parents.  You have the greatest ability to impact their lives.  Choose to impact them in a positive way.
 I am hoping by taking responsibility for our children's health as parents we can make a difference. If parents make the change then we can attack childhood obesity one family at a time.

Kudos to COAK, and Anytime Fitness. 
In an effort to get parents into the gym, Anytime Fitness is giving adults free 30 day memberships. For more information you can visit the COAK website on Anytime Fitness.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to tell your children that they are overweight. Self-esteem can be very low for children and you maybe afraid that this could make them feel worse about themselves. Well this is a great example why it must be done as a family and start at home. Then it's "we are doing this" and takes the pressure off of your child. Getting your kids in shape really does start with you.