Preventing Childhood Obesity
Want to learn a statistic that is terrifying? One in five of America’s school-aged children are above the 95th percentile for body mass index (BMI), which indicates obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What does this mean for the kids? An increase in health risk factors, social struggles and future health risks. If that is not enough to take you kid on a jog, consider this– the American Heart Association suggests childhood obesity is currently the top (number one) youth-related health concern for parents, overshadowing concerns over drug and alcohol use.
What is the cause of this staggering childhood obesity growth? Increased caloric intake and decreased physical activity. It’s that simple, kids are eating more and moving less than they did 30 or 40 years ago.
Solving Childhood Obesity
We know the issue with childhood obesity, but how do we solve the issue? Honestly, the answer is surprisingly simple– We must encourage our kids to move more often and to eat proper meals. This is simple, until you add in the kid factor. Motivating children to change can be a huge challenge for parents.
Children are impulse driven, highly emotional, and most lack a robust capability to assess action vs outcome. Another thought for you, adults should not assume children are motivated by the same factors that motivate us.
How Do You Elicit Change In Kids?
So, how do we elicit a change in our children? How do we encourage healthy lifestyle habits that will lead to healthy children? Great question! I have been in the fitness industry for 20 years, and these three tips will help you get the kiddos moving and eating the way they should for a healthier life. Keep in mind that the nutrition component weights heavily on the child’s success.
Three ways to create active kids:
- Parental participation
- Expose kids to many types of exercise/physical activity
- Provide Knowledge to the child
Children mirror parent’s behavior, so parents should behave in a way that leads their children to be healthy! Research suggests that for a child to have success with a behavior-change strategy, at least one parent must exhibit that behavior.
In your home, what are your beliefs on physical fitness, exercise, and nutrition? Are healthy habits reinforced, or used as a punishment? If eating healthy is not encouraged, and used as a punishment, the child will be less likely to desire healthy foods. Similarly, if physical activity is a punishment for your child, they are much less likely to enjoy playing outside or participating in sports. .
If you really want to make a positive, lasting influence on your child, engage in physical activity with him/her. It is crucial that your child notices you enjoy being active. So, put the remote down, get off the couch, and go play with your kids!
Remember there are various ways to exercise
Back when I was a kid we played outside from dusk till dawn. We rode bikes, played stickball, tag/tackle football, freeze tag, hide and seek, dodgeball, etc, etc, etc.. There were numerous opportunities for fun activities.
Now, technology occupies the free time of most children and the schools have cut or eradicated their physical education programs. Currently, children are getting in most of their fitness through sports. Consider this, if a child does not excel in the sports they play/are exposed to, they may gain a negative attitude toward their ability. A child’s perception of themselves can be greatly altered by their ability to engage in certain activities.
It’s important to expose children to various forms of physical activity. Competitive sports are only a small fraction of the ways children can develop a relationship with fitness. Remember, you are your child’s fitness “mentor,” so you may have to go outside the box to find an activity that your child loves.
Fitness is not about HIIT training and sweating all over the place. There are several activities that will get your child moving that can be delivered in a “play” manner. The main point is to get your kid of the couch and put away the technology for a few. Climbing a rock wall at the park, playing chase with mom and dad, jumping, skipping, and even walking are all great ways to keep your kids active and add some fun to their daily routine.
Teach your child the “why” behind being fit
Remember, kids rarely consider action/outcome scenarios as a means to motivate themselves to perform actions. However, research suggests children tend to participate, find motivation and adhere to exercise routines when they understand why they are doing what they are doing.
We should teach our kids that exercise is for life outside of the gym. Talk with your kid about how they feel during and after a workout/activity. Normally, the child will feel more energized and focused after a sporting event/exercise/activity. Laying the foundation for physical activity/fitness and expanding upon that understanding will help create healthy habits in your child that last a lifetime.
Thank you for reading my post. I want to share ways you can get in-depth training, advice, and begin making your health a priority.
- Fitness App Classes – $39/month, a trainer in your pocket!
- Health Coaching
- Virtual Training
- A fun, NO COST option is to sign up for our mailing list. Again, cool emails packed with discounts, information, tips, tricks, discounts and more!
Again, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I wish you the best, and I hope to hear from you soon!