With childhood obesity on the rise in the United States, I
think it's time to take a good, hard look at what the causes are for this scary trend.
I'm going to rustle some feathers with this one because I'm calling out the parties most responsible for the terrible disservice that our kids are being dealt in our increasingly inactive nation: parents.
It would be real easy to blame the schools for cutting back on physical education or the food industry for aggressively targeting young consumers to sell crap food.
But at the end of the day it's neither the school system's or the food industry's responsibility to raise our kids to be healthy, active adults.
It all begins and ends at home.
Parents, we have to get serious about our kids and what patterns we're helping them develop every day.
We allow numerous hours of the Internet, Xbox and the latest MTV teen drama, then we get surprised when Johnny discovers at age 12 he is a type-2 diabetic and has a cholesterol count of more than 200.
When I was younger (here we go), I had to be dragged in from the local park, or from the Boys & Girls club where I was kickball champion.
Dodgeball ruled, too.
The generation today isn't being encouraged to get out and play.
Even the kids I see outside in my neighborhood — which has an excellent play area — don't play a much as they sit and hang out.
Combine this inactivity with a steady diet of crappy convenience foods, and, well, here we are.
It can be fixed, however. We have to get our kids active every day.
Feed them lots of fruit, vegetable, and other good, supportive foods.
McDonald's should not be a staple of daily family meals. We have multiple parks with great summer sports programs, and clubs all over the city that have regularly scheduled gymnasium activities. Let's make use of these invaluable resources.
Is it going to require some time and effort on our part? Yup.
Is it totally worth it? Yup.
It's a fact that, on average, physically active kids who eat lots of fruits and vegetables and maintain an appropriate weight, perform better in school and are happier in general than kids who are inactive, overweight and eat less healthy.
Do what you have to do to produce an active, healthy kid.
Trust me. There's no downside.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, radio personality and co-owner of Home Team Fitness Training. Visit his website www.hometeamfitness.net, or find him on Facebook www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.
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