Obesity is now the number one childhood health issue concerning parents in the United States, surpassing drug abuse and smoking. The American Heart Association reports that approximately one in three American children and teens are overweight or obese; more than tripling in number from 1971 to 2011.
Childhood obesity is causing a broad range of health problems including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. As well there are psychological effects; obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression.
Possibly the most sobering statement with respect to the severity of the childhood obesity epidemic came from former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”
As a parent it is imperative to cultivate a culture of wellness as a family; your children’s attitudes and actions will model your behavior. Spending time together exercising is a great way to set a good example and help your children develop positive habits at a young age.
Regular exercise is essential and packs a powerful punch when it comes to brain health and learning. With physical activity, senses become heightened, having a positive impact on levels of energy, mood, and self-esteem.
Remember adults call it working out, children call it playing. Get your children off of the sofa and get them away from the screens, get up and get moving with them!
You can find fun activities to participate in by contacting your local recreation centers, civic organizations or clubs that are of interest to you. Exercising as a family is beneficial for you and for them; it will build and enhance social skills, self-esteem, and self-confidence, and deepen your relationship with your children. It is in this environment that children learn healthy habits are a positive way of life.
Childhood obesity is rampant. It is slowly spiraling out of control and continuing to rise at an alarming rate. Spend time being active with your children and create healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
I am a corporate wellness consultant. As a master yoga instructor, I support in-house wellness programs, seminars, trade shows and executive retreats. I help business leaders build and maintain physical and mental well-being. If you would like to learn more about offering a health and fitness program to your busy management team contact me at [email protected] or 386.871.0582
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