I applaud Michelle Obama for taking up the cause of childhood obesity. As First Lady she can bring a huge amount of attention to this national epidemic.
It is absolutely mind-boggling to me that one in three kids are overweight in the U.S. A study cited in USA Today shows that obese children are more likely to die prematurely than their peers who maintain a healthy weight. So how can you help tackle the problem of obesity and children?
Lead By Example
You start at home. You look in the mirror. Kids are products of their environment. So, how can you expect your kids to take up a healthy, active lifestyle if you’re not doing the same? You must deal with your own weight issues to be a convincing role model for your children.
It’s time to take 100% responsibility for your weight. Even though you are somewhat a victim of heredity it really comes down to your own behavior and attitude to address the cause of your body fat. No matter what the circumstances, you can control certain areas that will help you lose weight.
You can control what you eat, when you eat, what exercise you get — when, how long and how often, your general lifestyle and your attitude.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t get caught up in the hype of becoming “model skinny.” It’s not healthy, not realistic and certainly not a good example for your children. Instead, set realistic goals to eat better, exercise regularly and find a healthy weight for yourself. The achievement of reaching your own goals and the satisfaction you’ll get when you make progress will serve you far better than trying to achieve someone else’s “ideal.”
There are plenty of “lose weight plans” available and there’s one that will work for you. You need to do your research and find something that is sensible and something you can stick with for the long term. You’re looking for a healthy way to eat for life, not a diet to follow for 2 weeks.
Your children will benefit from seeing you make healthy eating and exercise choices. They’ll also benefit from seeing you happier and healthier as you achieve your goals. These are lessons they’ll be able to apply to other areas of their lives as well — setting goals and working hard to achieve them.
Monkey See, Monkey Do!
Don’t expect your kids to eat a healthy, balanced meal if you don’t do the same. I know you probably lead a busy life but planning out proper meals and sitting together at a table at least once a day is a good way to start. Try to avoid eating on the run, in the car for instance. And get the kids involved. Try setting down together and giving each family member one day to be responsible for coming up with a dinner menu. Give everyone a list of healthy foods to choose from.
Look for activities you can participate in together. Instead of spending hours sitting around the tv go for a walk as a family or find some physical activity you can all do together. Not only is it good for achieving weight loss, it’s good for the emotional well being of your family.
Be Prepared To Be The Bad Guy
Be strong, put your foot down on junk food. Keep plenty of healthy fruits and veggies ready to eat. Wean everyone off sugary soft drinks. Limit tv time and get more exercise.
Believe it or not, kids do listen to their parents! Parents, you really do have a huge influence on your children! Of course your kids will protest when you set boundaries, but in the long run kids feel more safe and secure when you set limits.
Now just think about these frightening statistics: Heavier children are more than twice as likely to die early from natural causes. Nearly 30% of children are obese or overweight and that puts them at a greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems. The problem of obesity and children is one we must all work to correct. Start at home.