By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic that has swept the nation in the last decade. Students are gaining weight and becoming less active every generation. The temptation to sit around and play video games while eating a bag of chips is far greater now than it was ten years ago.
Being a child is not like it used to be. Days are not spent roaming through the neighborhood with friends until it gets dark. Now, it is too dangerous to let children roam the neighborhood or play with stranger’s children. In this new generation, children are taught that strangers are bad and video games are good. This mindset has led to far more children being inactive and far fewer going outside.
As warm weather approaches in north Florida, it is time to encourage children to go outside and play. Invest in a bicycle and let them ride up and down the street, or get a football and throw it with them in the front yard. Building a tree house is a great way to get children to be active. Trampolines are also a fun activity for children during them summer.
For very hot days, nothing beats running through the sprinkler in the front yard or sliding down a slip-n-slide. There are even inexpensive alternatives to slip-n-slides that you would find at Wal-Mart. Taking a regular tarp, like those used to cover cars or boats, covering it with dish soap and running a sprinkler next to it is a great alternative. Just make sure the tarp is clean and there are no rocks under it.
Adding a few hours of activity to your child’s day will increase the amount of calories they burn by hundreds. However, activity has to be followed up with good eating habits, and since children do not usually cook their own meals, this responsibility falls on the parent.
Encouraging your child to eat more fruits and vegetables can make a huge change in their eating habits. Many children claim to not like fruits or vegetables, but that is usually because they haven’t been fed any that they like, or had it presented in a way that appeals to them. Handing a child a whole cucumber will not usually appeal to their taste buds. However, chopping it up and peeling it, then mixing it with ranch dressing (low fat) or salt and a little vinegar can make it an entirely different experience.
The same can be done with apples by serving them with peanut butter. Strawberries can be mixed with a few teaspoons of sugar or pineapple can be served with a sweet fruit dip. There are many things that can be added to fruits and veggies to enhance the flavor but still allow them to be healthy treats.
The most important responsibility of a parent is to keep their children healthy and safe. Adding some of these activities and foods to your child’s life will help keep them healthy and active. Also, encouraging them to get involved with school activities, clubs or sports are a great way to not only get them active, but also to make new friends. So next time your child is playing a video game, or browsing the web, ask them to go for a walk with you or play a game. This will make them healthier and also bring the two of you closer together.
Tag Archive for obesity
By Kristin Finney