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It’s no secret. Obesity is running rampant and continues to plague our youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-fifth (or 17%) of all of America’s youth is obese or over weight. Childhood obesity has tripled1 since the 1970’s and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Children are the victims here, and it’s disheartening that our society has become so lax about diet and exercise.
Obesity in children contributes to a multitude of issues such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease. It also puts them at risk for diabetes, stroke, bone and joint problems, sleeping problems, social and psychological problems, poor self-esteem, cancer, and osteoarthritis.2 What’s amazing is that most cases can be prevented or conquered with cheap, easy diet and exercise.
If your child is struggling with obesity, get started by setting an example for your child by being healthy yourself. I know changes can be hard to make, but this is a serious issue in our country that’s not going to go away on it’s own. You are your child’s role model and they look up to you. You are their one and only true advocate. So let’s get to work and become a healthier society as a whole.
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. You must make sure you are feeding your family the nutrients it needs and make sure they are active as well. Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a lot and you don’t need a gym membership to stay in shape. One of the hardest things to take control of is your diet. If you have a yard you can grow your own fruits and vegetables or you can shop at farmers markets.
Here are some do’s and don’ts related to diet:
Healthy Choices for School Lunches:
Exercise is just as important as diet. In our American lives we are more sedentary than ever before. It’s not okay to sit all day at your desk job and then come home to do more of the same in front of your TV. Get up and get active with your kids! Be an example for them. It’s easier than you think and doesn’t take much time at all. As Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit says, “It does not have to become complicated. Children just need to get up and move. Try to keep it fresh and entertaining. Work with the children instead of fighting with them. For example, we know children are involved in too much sedentary activity, which include a lot of technology. TV time can consume 2-4 hours a day. So, have the kids 'commercial-cize' when they watch TV. Whenever a commercial comes on TV, they should exercise the entire commercial break performing pushups, situps, run in place, jumping rope, or jogging in place.” It is recommended that 60 minutes of activity is all that is needed each day. And that doesn’t have to happen all in one shot. Divide up the time throughout the day.
Here are some cheap and easy ideas for exercise:
Another easy and helpful tip, that Shawn Talbott, a Nutritional Biochemist and Author, tells us is, “get kids to bed on time so they get a good night sleep. Kids (teens and adults) who don’t get enough sleep have changes in hormones that increase appetite (specifically for junk food) and promote abdominal fat accumulation (specific belly fat storage, which many of us call "stress fat"). If parents want to keep their kids healthy, help them avoid weight gain, and reduce their risk for diabetes later in life, they need to get them off soda and into bed on time - while they're also encouraging an overall healthy lifestyle for the entire family.”
Overall, diet and exercise can be fun and easy to accomplish. Are you doing all that you can to ensure your family is getting the healthy diet and exercise they deserve? Please let me know if we’ve missed any key tips in the comments below. If you have questions leave those in the comments as well. Good luck and congrats on starting your family on a journey of living a healthy lifestyle! You can do it!
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