Childhood Obesity on the Rise…Where is Our Nation Headed?
Many of us know that our nation is under an ever increasing epidemic of overweight and obese people. With 2/3 of the US overweight and 1/3 being obese it is no wonder that in 30 years childhood obesity has increased three fold! A consensus was reached by schools, communities, families and government programs all over the US…get kids active and eating better.
The first topic on getting kids to be active is easy…get your children to do something that gets their heart rate up! Some states require only 120 minutes per week of Physical Education classes, but with budget cuts some schools are only getting one class per week. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education and American Heart Association recommend 225 min of PE a week (45 min/day) for middle and high school students and 150 min of PE a week (30 min/day) for elementary school students. If the schools are starting to cut budgets and take PE out of schools what are some other options? Find some before or after school programs in your area for you children…not just the TV or video games. Local gyms usually have some sort of youth programs at them, community centers, parks…and if there are none then start your own and see what other kids you can get to join (remember you need at least 30 min of activity every day too). Here at the SAC we are always trying to get everyone involved and here is what we offer for youth: Kids Karate, Youth Squash, Kids Swimming, Teen Weight Training program, Kids PE camp (during spring and summer breaks), child-care with lots of different activities every day.
The second topic of eating better is a bit harder to address because many child psychologists question whether younger children will be able to understand the concept of healthy dieting and weight loss. When talking to the SAC’s nutritionist about issues of young overweight children and what to feed them her feed back was that children’s bodies know what foods they need or are lacking. Instead of forcing a child to eat “healthy” veggies all the time allow the child to have all the options of foods and their body will guide them to eat what it needs to maintain optimal health. Meaning if your child keeps craving fruit, don’t think that it is a bad thing because of all the sugars; perhaps your child is trying to subconsciously fix an insulin issue. If all you have in the house is processed foods with a lot of sugars, your child does not have a lot to choose from and will try and take the unnatural food and make it work. If think your child would benefit from talking with the SAC’s nutritionist let us know and we will get it set up for you.
In the end, if as a Nation the families skipped eating fast food and decreased the time in front of the TV or computer, not only would our children become fit, so would the adults! Remember to get your 30 minutes (minimum) of exercise for you and your child and eat as healthy as possible and perhaps we could start to reverse the obesity trend. For more information on any youth activity at the Seattle Athletic Club or if you are interested in speaking with our nutritionist please contact fitness director Jacob Galloway (firstname.lastname@example.org).