Over the last 10 years, the number of kids requiring medical attention due to obesity has increased a whopping 4-fold. Type 2 diabetes, asthma and trouble breathing during sleep are listed as the top complaints.
Sadly, this news isn't particularly surprising to most of us. Just look around - it is hard not to notice. Not only are you more likely to see overweight children these days, but you're also less likely to see kids playing outside. How many of us remember being sent outside after breakfast and being bribed back in for meals and bedtime? We understand that roaming the streets with wild abandon like some of us did is perhaps not advisable, but this doesn't mean we shouldn't encourage children to play outside and be active whenever possible.
After all, the rise in childhood obesity is directly related to this decrease in activity - as is an increase in the availability of processed food.
Let's be careful not to blame kids, though. Children learn through example. There has also been an increase in adult obesity, particularly women. In fact, a study by Imperial College London showed that girls and women were almost twice as likely to require medical attention due to their weight. The same study revealed that girls made up 3/4 of patients who had drastic weight-loss operations like bariatric surgery.
If we want our kids to live longer and happier lives, we’ve got to make sure we are setting a solid example. Encouraging kids to play outside, live active and eat healthy won’t exactly resonate if the parents are sitting inside glued to the computer and TV and eating junk.
To help kids live better, we should start with ourselves. While Dr. Phil can make us crazy with his acrimonious demeanour, perhaps he has said it most succinctly: The most important role model for a child is the same sex parent.
We know parents (well, good parents) want the very best for their children, and it is no one’s intention to endanger the health of their kids - (we’re pretty confident that our DailyHIIT’ers and other health and fitness enthusiasts are setting a great example for children!) - but we’ve got to admit that it’s time for more moms and dads to step up.
We aren’t saying people should go to the other extreme and foster obsessive and negative thought patterns in their children - let kids be kids, right? The ‘F’ word (FAT) should be banned! Kids should learn to love the bodies they are given and part of this love includes respecting and nurturing their bodies. It also includes acknowledging that a good part of the way we learn and develop during childhood is through play, so let’s bring play back!