Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Fight to End Childhood Obesity

First lady: Childhood obesity fight is about fitness, not looks

As someone who was always on the cusp of being overweight (at least in my opinion), I applaud the first lady for what she’s trying to do. We both recognize that keeping children to a healthy weight, needs to start at home. No offense to my parents, but my dad always had a sweet tooth (and still does!), so there was no shortage of sweets in the house. To go without dessert was a punishment, but something I do voluntarily today (though I kind of miss it). I think it would be easier to keep that routine today if that’s what I was used to.

According to the article on, “The average soda contains 110 calories, yet many kids drink one or more a day.” I guess we either weren’t average, or it was just a different time, because we were only allowed “pop” on the weekends. We usually split just one or two bottles between our family of five. By bottles, I mean the 26 oz. contour size that is no longer manufactured today, or at least not very commonly. We drank either Kool-Aid or milk the rest of the time. Since we had well water growing up, its taste left a lot to be desired, so none of us ever regularly drank it straight from the tap.

Unlike my brother and sister, I almost never bought lunch. I think I was always afraid I wouldn’t have anywhere to sit, so preferred to grab a chair and join my friends as soon as I could. Plus, I was very much a creature of habit and preferred brown bagging it most of the time. Sadly, I still do that today, but do occasionally allow myself to eat once in awhile to break up a dull routine.

I think parents should also encourage kids to get as much physical activity as possible. As someone who likes to read, and was never very interested in sports, it was sometimes difficult to pry myself away from a good book or the TV.

Sedentary kids, like I once was, are lucky that today there’s the Nintendo Wii Fit if all else fails. I have one and try to use it at least once a week. I also found, as an adult, a few different (non team) sports that I actually like, and in which I am reasonably competent, so never say never!

If nothing else, there’s always your own two feet. Getting out and taking a walk every day is one of the best forms of exercise. During bad weather the mall is a great place to burn off a few calories as long as you can keep moving and stay out of the stores!

I belong to a gym and try to use that on a weekly basis, but most gyms don’t cater to kids. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to perhaps invest in your own equipment – like a stationary bike or a treadmill. I find it motivating to use at home because I can exercise in front of the TV while enjoying my HGTV or a dvd.

At the end of the day, we all just need to get up and get moving, cut down our portion size and make a few more healthy choices. The difficult part is finding the motivation, but that’s another column for another day.

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