I was at a park. And I look over to see a child—around the age of ten or eleven—running. She is trying to keep up with the other children who are playing. I watch the effort and strain on her face. She is winded; she is exhausted. She is slowly failing.
And it broke my heart.
The state of obesity today amongst children is a critical one. And one that must be decidedly addressed and immediately dealt with. But as the government makes moves toward a new fitness directive, I have to wonder. Is it really a matter that falls first and solely on state and national officials to control?
The FDA recently approved more fresh produce and whole grains be offered to families receiving WIC funding. Awesome. The Obama Administration has launched the ‘Let’s Move’ Initiative; encouraging an implementation of a healthier state of mind and a response to the lack of adequate physical activity and proper eating habits of both adults and children. Super. But there’s a need for a stark evaluation of the practices in the home.
I look to the other side of the park. I spot the mother of the child who is having so much trouble just being a child. The expression on her face is not unlike that of her daughter’s. She is painfully aware of the disadvantage.
Yet there’s nothing she can do to ease her daughter’s struggle. Her own disposition renders her incapable. And so she remains on the bench. The very thought of action weighing her down into a state of utter dysfunction.
One-third of the kids in this country are dealing with obesity. Statistics show that up to 80 percent of those children will remain obese into their adulthood. That these same individuals’ chances of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer skyrocket in comparison to the majority of their “average weight” counterparts.
This epidemic can only be stopped by changing the environment in which it started. You cannot afford to wait for a government program to direct your child. You cannot be complacent and rely solely on the public school’s gym teacher. You simply cannot afford to not acknowledge and accept responsibility for the condition of your child.
It’s time for you to save your child’s life. And quite possibly, your own
Reassess your life to restore your children’s. Set examples that not only your kids will keep for their future, but ones you are proud to adopt yourself and hold onto to. Challenge what you have accepted as the norm, become your family’s official Fitness Activist.
You can overhaul your fridge. You can join a local gym together. You can talk with a nutrition counselor. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can do all of these things. But why not have a little fun with it?
Let’s Go DO the Movies: Who said you had to merely sit a watch what was playing? Making your movie interactive will be a blast; fun-wise and calorie-wise! Watching a musical? Get up and follow the choreography during the song and dance numbers. Watching an action flick? Engage in a mock fight sequence; just make sure you don’t actually knock someone out!
The Biggest Loser—Home Edition: Nothing motivates like a little competition, especially between family members. Collaborate to chose fitness challenges to perform. Have fun and support each other when taking them on. Pick individual End of Game prizes for each family participant; something that player really wants so they’ll fight to be the winner. Also, chose one collective prize, like a trip, for everyone to enjoy in celebration of finishing the game and getting fit together.
Next Top Model—Before and After Shots: Go out and buy yourself the most fabulous outfit you can afford. But buy it one or two sizes smaller. Everyone does this right, the motivation outfit that they hang where they can see it everyday? Go one step further and put the outfit on before you can fit it. See the ill fit? See the bulging? See the gaps? Now..take a family portrait with all of you in your attire that you can’t fit ... yet. Strike a pose; be FIERCE! Start your workout regime, get fit, lose weight and come back a month or so later. Strike that same pose in that same outfit and be proud of the “then to now” difference!
Take the reigns of your family’s fitness. Obesity does not have to be your or your child’s outcome. Get off the bench and get in the game.