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Tackling Childhood Obesity With Exercise

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Tackling Childhood Obesity With Exercise

  1. 1. As a nation, we are all getting fat. Very fat, apparently. Worryingly, our kids are getting fat, too. The Departmentof Health claims that a whopping 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10children are now obese. The prediction is that if nothing is done about the rising levels, by 2050 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children will be obese. Move over USA, the new big boys are in town. What can we do tohelp stop this trend in its tracks and protect our kids from possible future heart and liver problems, diabetes and even cancer? Ensuring they eat the right foods is a goodplace to start. Seeing as we control most of what they eat,it shouldnt be too hard a thing to achieve, either. Gettingour kids away from the computer and TV and doing some form of exercise - now therein lies the real challenge.
  2. 2. Setting a good example is key. If we, as parents, are obese and sedentary, how can we hope to encourage ourchildren to be fit and healthy? We need to take time out of our weekend to play some active sport with our children. We could play squash or tennis with them, get them involved in talking the dog for a walk, or simply head tothe playing fields with a ball for an hour or so. The bravest among us could even turn the radio on and dance round our kitchens to music. At least it will get a laugh. Perhaps this should be avoided if the children have friends over,though, unless you want your Dad dance moves mimicked round the playground indefinitely.
  3. 3. Setting a good example should start from the very beginning. Babies and toddlers are more impressionable than you might think. Even if they cant talk yet, you canbe sure they understand much more than you imagine andthey will take their cue from you. It is important that they can see that you make time in your day to exercise. If youdont consider it to be important, why should they? Simply having gym membership to a facility with a crèche will implant the right seed in their rapidly expanding brains (provided you use it, of course). If your baby isnt walking yet, put him the pram and take him for a walk every day. Yes, even in the rain. Being outside in the fresh air is not only stimulating for the baby, its good for you, too. Raising your activity level now will ensure you have theenergy to raise theirs as they get older. If you can afford it,
  4. 4. It is possible to take the idea of childrens exercise to extremes, of course. There is a new concept in the gym world; that is gym membership for children as young asfive. This might be well intentioned, but with the best will in the world surely this is not a great approach. Five year olds with gym membership lifting weights? With an equally worrying trend amongst children of anorexia and bulimia, surely this just endorses a body-obsessed mind set? Can you imagine a six year old with a six pack? It makes you shudder to think how they would look at bodies as they reach their teens and early twenties. Encouraging a carefree, energetic attitude to sport is one thing. Instilling the idea of a perfectly sculpted body is quite another beast entirely and fuels the already ingrained insecurity surrounding body image. Not to
  5. 5. That is not to say that the general idea behind the junior gym is not a laudable one. Being active from early on instils a good mind set and attitude towards exercise forthe future. Anything that gets kids away from the TV is tobe praised. Getting children into exercise at a young age is undoubtedly a good idea, so long as we dont take it too far and push our kids to extremes. Primarily, exercise should be fun; otherwise it will be seen as a chore and sooner or later a thing to dread. Playing team sports canbe fun, encourage social skills and build confidence. What to do with the uncoordinated child who is picked on byfellow team mates though? This will only dent confidence and certainly wont be fun for the unfortunate child. Luckily, being active doesnt have to mean structured activity. The guidelines suggest children do one hour of
  6. 6. http://recipes-for-healthy-kids.com/

Visit http://recipes-for-healthy-kids.com/ for more info

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