We’re in the middle of an epidemic. You’ve heard it before, and I think you’ll hear it many more times: our kids are fat. Not just heavy, but obese. I’m not going to throw more statistics at you. They are out there, easy to find; google it if you’re interested. Let’s look instead at the main underlying causes: Kids are not moving as much; kids are not eating well; and kids are not spending quality time eating meals with their families, learning appropriate food-related behaviors.
Let’s look at each piece.
Kids aren’t moving enough. All too often, kids are spending more time with the computer, video game or television (read: sitting) than with a ball or out in the yard. In our house, our kids get very little screen time. I try to find other ways to keep them entertained/distracted. I don’t think that the answer to boredom is a video (although, admittedly, sometimes the peace of mind that comes from the resulting quiet is quite alluring). My husband and I both exercise regularly. We make time for it, talk about it, and include our kids in it (e.g. running buggies, bike trailers, etc). We incorporate movement into our weekend plans. We encourage our kids to be active, signing them up for the sports teams they would like to join, or are interested in trying. By providing positive examples for regular movement, we are modeling the behavior we hope to see in our kids. Kids see you moving, kids will do the same. Families that move together, stay moving together. This can become a very enjoyable way to spend family time. And, as the kids grow, the type and difficulty of the sports you do together can progress. Sure, t-ball is entertaining for a 5 year old, but not so much for an adult. But keep that kid practicing, they will be your softball partner by the time they are in middle school.
Kids aren’t eating well. This is more than simply not eating their veggies.