Yet again, reports and studies show that a rising number of children are becoming obese because they are not active enough. They are spending far too much time in front of television screens, at computer terminals and with game consoles in their chubby little hands. Here’s an article from Parentcentral.ca which talks about this very problem. But it isn’t just parents who are to blame, although that’s a bid part of it. Here in Ontario, there was a time when governments insisted that school kids needed to focus more on core subjects to improve academic results. While that’s a noble and worthwhile goal, the practical result was that schools started cutting back on the extras like gym class and extra-curricular sports when cash-strapped boards started cutting costs.
Add in the effects of a busy, over-programmed lifestyle. We rush around in mini-vans and cruise through fast-food drive thru windows at the drop of a hat. Although many chains have added “healthy choices” to the menu, the reality is that kids will still insist on chicken nuggets and fries over a salad with apple
slices. It doesn’t help that many restaurants super-size the servings with enough calories to feed an elephant.
It all adds up to a triple-whammy that’s hurting our kids, physically, emotionally and spiritually. So what do we do about it? Send them outside to play in the Playbourhood is a good start.
Other ideas from the Parentcentral article include these tips:
– Don’t allow them to stay indoors at recess.
– Put a skipping rope in their school bags.
– Sign them up for lunch and after-school sports programs.
– Make exercise part of their daily routine, like homework.
– Get them to help with yard work, snow shovelling and other physical chores.
– If not walking, suggest biking to school.
– School fundraisers could focus on physically active promotions such as dance-a-thons, walk-a-thons or skipping competitions.
– Encourage their schools to keep a supply of basketballs, soccer balls and other sports equipment that can be used at recess and lunchtime.
The point is that we need to stop ignoring the problem and take action. Our kids deserve the best start in life we can give them, and that includes a healthy and ACTIVE lifestyle.