BREAKING NEWS: Inactivity and Crappy Eating Habits Can Lead to Childhood Obesity
No shit, really? Let’s think for a moment about the average day of an American teenager. What does it involve? Certainly school, and perhaps an extracurricular activity. But other than that, a teenager’s life is filled with TV watching, internet surfing, texting, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.
What do all of those have in common? Sitting.
They’re all activities that don’t involve a lot of physical movement. On top of that, they probably consume a lot of pre-packaged and snack foods. Fast food is incredibly common as well. What does this add up to? Fat kids, or out of shape skinny kids if they’re lucky enough to have a fast metabolism.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but childhood obesity (and obesity in general) is a huge problem in this country. I could list off endless stats about how these lifestyle trends which include chemically-altered food and inactivity are endangering the physical wellbeing of our nation’s children, but that would take up a dozen pages and nobody wants to read that.
I want to clarify something before I go any further: I am not talking about “hefty” people or “heavy-set” people. Many people are born to have a bigger body mass than others. There is no perfect human form. For some reason, we as a society tend to promote this image that, in an ideal world, everyone would be slim and well-toned. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.
I am not here to criticize people who simply weren’t born with a certain genetic code. I am here to give some parenting advice and address the problem of obesity. Allowing your child to live an unhealthy lifestyle is the same thing as fostering and endorsing it. So whether you’re ignorant, misinformed, or just plain stupid, it’s still up to you to take action.
Parents have the responsibility to raise their kids in way that they’ll be able to enjoy life and be a productive member of society. Letting your kid get fat and lazy is doing your child a disservice. I’m not saying to turn into the tiger mother and withhold food until they run 10 miles (although some of the more stubborn kids may need that kind of treatment). I am saying be aware of your child’s lifestyle and get involved to ensure they’re eating healthy and getting off the couch.
Just as some parents only show affection when their kids get good grades or win a sporting event, maybe we should start thinking about doing the same with healthy diets and exercise milestones. The goal is to get kids moving around and living healthier from a young age so it becomes habit once they reach their 20’s, 30’s, and so forth. And to avoid needing a quadruple bypass before you’re old enough to grab a drink at the bar.
Is your son going to be as ripped as a superstar athlete? Is your daughter going to be as slim as a super model? Maybe not, but you should definitely be teaching them to strive for it.