It’s back to school time, and that means malls and mayhem galore! Having to run from one store to another to hit the sales for buy-one get-one free pants for my 6 foot tall, 14-year-old son (because he just won’t stop growing) is exhausting, to say the least (good times!). The other day as I was sitting in the food court inhaling my mandarin chicken, waiting for my daughter to emerge from the teen-inducing coma known as ‘Forever 21,’ I noticed a family sitting at a table not far away from mine.
The family included a mom, dad, and two kids, and what struck me was how overweight the family was. The children had their faces buried in iPads and were scarfing down McDonald’s while the parents ate ice cream and texted on their phones.
How irresponsible of these parents to allow their children to become obese. Being grossly overweight comes with a host of health issues. Heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, once considered adult diseases, are now seen in children. In most cases these are due to overeating and lack of exercise.
Parents should be held accountable for the health of their children. The question needs to be asked: Should allowing your child to become grossly overweight be considered child abuse? Unless the child has a medical issue, there is no excuse for him to fall ill due to overeating. According to statistics, in 2012 1/3 of children and adolescents were obese and 50% will remain that way as adults.
The solutions are simple:
1.Make healthy food choices for your family (if you limit the amount of junk you buy, they have no choice but to reach for the fruit).
2. Monitor what they are putting into their mouths. Set limits and take the control back. It’s okay to say “no” to that third cookie.
3. No more “couch potato kids”! Turn off the technology and make them go outside and play (believe it or not, you still have the power to do that)!
4. Practice what you preach! If you make healthy choices and are active, your children will naturally follow suit.
5. Use these changes as a great excuse to cultivate more family time.
September is “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month” and what better time to make the changes needed to help your entire family become healthier in mind, body, and spirit!
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