This is a topic that needs our immediate attention.
I recently watched our fearless first lady on television discussing her new initiative … "The War on Teen Obesity." Her national campaign to address this problem obviously demonstrates a real need for change with our children's daily habits.
We are seeing more and more teens with grown up health issues … diabetes, high blood pressure and hyper tension.
How has this happened?
Why are so many American teenagers gaining weight at such a rapid rate?
Well … I witnessed this problem first hand my first year of coaching in a middle school. I was asked to be one of the basketball coaches and during one of our practices I divided up the players in to two groups … shirts and skins.
I WAS SHOCKED !!
These kids should have been in the best shape of their lives but what I witnessed was numerous kids completely out of shape.
Now we can identify the many reasons fro this epidemic … excessive caloric intake, consumption of excess sugar, lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle.
It is sad the farther our students progress in school, the less physical activity they are afforded through the school day. Most school districts require students to complete one credit of physical education to graduate high school. This can be accomplished in a semester … the remaining 3 years years our children continue to live sedentary lives. When I was attending elementary school we had numerous opportunities to play at recess. High school students … not so much!
All of these reasons have contributed to the obesity epidemic we have today.
So now that we know the why to this problem … let's discuss some ways to combat this epidemic.
It goes back to daily habits … not only our children habits but also as role models what are the habits we display to our children each day.
The reality is kids will model behaviors they see … NOT what they hear. So please do not give your kids the one liner … "Do as I say, not as I do"
* Take responsibility for your own actions and model healthy choices for your children.
* Increase Daily Exercise
We must place our children in situations that will benefit their physical fitness. Here's an example … Yesterday my family celebrated my 8 yr old sons "end of the season" basketball party. I was fortunately to have had the opportunity to coach the team so my wife and I decided to celebrate the successful season and gather the boys together before they transitioned to baseball or other spring sports.
We decided to have the party at a dodge ball facility. You talk about FUN !!
We reserved the facility for 2 hours and had food and rewards for the kids … though I must say the highlight of the evening was the actual dodge ball games with the kids.
At one point, all of the kids and the adults were participating in the games. It was a great workout and the kids and adults had a blast!
This was a great activity that included the entire family in a physical activity setting.
We need to plan more activities in our daily and / or weekly schedules that will force our children to become physically involved.
Bottom line … We must change our daily habits.
We must adjust our eating habits … we must change our physical activity habits … and we must continue to model positive habits for our children.
Remember the definition of insanity … "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
If we want a different result for our teens physical fitness then it is critical we change as well. We must change the little disciplines in life if we want to see true change with our physical fitness.
Drink more water … eat nutritional meals and snacks … exercise daily … refrain from polluting your body with drugs and alcohol … these will get you on the path towards improved physical fitness and vitality.
Unfortunately our youth will continue to grow to massive sizes if we as adults allow it. Educate your child and continue to practice healthy habits through your life.