The epidemic of child obesity in America seems to have never been more prevalent than it is today. Even with all of the media attention on the increase in weight and the decline of activity of children all across our country, not enough seems to be happening to make the differences that the next generation needs to see. What is even more frightening is that we don’t need the television or obesity statistics to know that the problem isn’t going away; we can see it in our neighborhoods and sometimes in our own households.
There is hope. Education is key; education for parents, teachers, and the community, but also education for the kids. The more we all know, the easier it will be to create a change.
In working with men, women, and children as a Personal Trainer, Group exercise Instructor, and Youth Sports Instructor over the past decade, I have seen the highs and the lows of fitness in America. Having been witness to some of those lows, I can still see a light at the end of the tunnel, but what’s more important is that the children see that light.
Know what? They do.
So, what can we do as individuals to start making a difference in the lives of children that may be suffering from childhood obesity?
Here are 4 Helpful Hints for Fighting Child Obesity in America
Be Supportive: When we least expect it, children are listening. Whether they seem mesmerized or distracted by the television, their iPods, or their cell phones our words, both positive and negative, stick. They will begin to model or try to become what they think you think of them.
If your consistent message is “you are overweight and all you do is sit in front of the TV all day”, then that is what they will eventually emulate. Positive reinforcement like, “You looked so fast running from the school bus to the front door today. I bet that’s why you’re doing so well in soccer,” is a great way to stimulate the activity you would like to see more of.
Lead by Example: My parents have always been my greatest heroes. Some of my favorite childhood memories were of playing baseball and soccer in the front yard, basketball in the driveway, or just racing my Mom and Dad up and down the street. It didn’t occur to me until years later how much of an impact that had on me growing up and is probably part of the reason that I’m writing this today. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Talk about It: Kids and adults browse through magazines, read newspapers, and watch the television daily. Look for your coaching opportunities. If a news clip comes on that focuses on child obesity in America, ask your kids for their thoughts. You may be surprised to find that their knowledge of the subject matter is more detailed than you originally thought. What’s even better? They may have some great ideas on stopping childhood obesity.
Never Stop Learning: If you have found this site, then you are already on the right track and it is obvious that you care about making a difference. The more you can learn about obesity for yourself, your friends, and your family, the more you can do to help stop it. Whether you are looking for new physical activities or games to play outside with the family, if it’s trying some new, healthy recipes, or getting involved in community education, the more knowledge you have, the more you will be able to share.
Thank you for joining the cause to stop child obesity in America and across the world.