Monday, March 24, 2008

How do we fight Childhood Obesity?

How do they do it? How do people who are at a healthy weight stay that way. I have friends who are at that healthy weight and I see them enjoying the cheeseburgers and fries I once enjoyed. Do they work out more, are their bodies better at metabolizing food, Do they eat all rabbit food in private. I honestly do not know the answer to this question. I would guess it is all of the above. My guess would be that our friends who maintain a healthy weight are doing it by snaking less, eating slightly better, and exercising slightly more. They allow themselves the indulgences that I used to enjoy every day only every so often. That cheeseburger and fries are replaced by a ham sandwich. When they eat a bowl of ice cream they only eat a couple of scoops not five or six, and not 5 nights a week. What I am getting at is that while some people may have bodies that allow them to eat like crap and remain skinny most people who maintain a healthy weight are simply doing a better job of not over eating those things that are not healthy. They are doing a better job of getting in more exercise. They may not go to the gym all the time but they incorporate things into their lives that get them more exercise. Whether it is walking the dog, going for a bike ride, or just playing some basketball, they are doing more than I was doing.

The other thing I believe is that people who have maintained a healthy weight grew up this way. They were either eating better and exercising more as kids. This was a learned behavior. Childhood obesity is an epidemic now. As the father to a wonderful son who is thankfully of normal weight, I worry about his weight. Since his birth I have thanked God regularly that he is not overweight. I am glad he does not have to deal with the ridicule and harsh words of children. I endured that and would never wish that on another person. So then how do we teach our children to eat healthier? How do we show them that exercise is important? My first thought is to lead by example. We have to make time to prepare a healthy meal rather than opting for the convenience of delivered pizza and fast food. We need to go on walks with our children, we need to teach them about nutrition by giving them a solid example.

I will say that I could not have been more proud of my son a few days ago. At about at night he came out of his room and asked what healthy snack he could have, I rattled of a few things and he choose and orange. I was so happy that he came to me and asked me for a healthy snack rather than asking for candy or chips. I think we might be heading in the right direction!


TB--Milwaukee said...

Kids know when to stop eating. They learn from us. Leading by example is a great way to keep your kids healthy.

I agree about most people at a healthy weight. I think more people exercise than I cared to admit before. I thought being at a healthy weight wouldn't take much effort till I got there.

Magpie said...

Great post!! Growing up watching my mom diet as well as attempt to feed us as healthy and natural foods as she could (with occassional splurges- cuz you gotta!) was a good example for me.

So I agree, lead by example cuz a picture is worth a thousand words. :)