In Laurie Levy’s recent blogpost, “Let’s Move Even More: Why Kids Need More Chances to Move, Starting with Infancy”, the veteran mom points out a significant issue. She explains how there has been a decline in infant and child activity from her own generation to her grandchildren’s. Her argument is that rigid parenting/schooling regulations do a disservice to youngens as they are expected to spend so much time sitting still.
Her concerns mirror those of First Lady Michelle Obama, and Health ministries nationwide as childhood obesity in America continues to rise. Discussing the effects of a changing culture on our children, Mrs. Obama explained:
Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games, and the internet. Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home-cooked meals. Snacking between meals is now commonplace.
While socioeconomic conditions often play a role in the problem as well, the fact of the matter is that childhood obesity has doubled in the last 3 decades. As a result, there has been a rise in obesity-related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart-disease, asthma, sleep apnea, and more. Worse, these numbers are even higher within black and hispanic communities.
The digital-age, compounded with added sugars, oils and fats to the ever-growing American diet, leaves our children in a very vulnerable state. But there are simple lifestyle changes that can be introduced to help our children, and the generations to come, lead long and healthy lives.
Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign identifies 5 simple steps for parents to begin the process of getting their kids on the right track.
1. Keep fresh fruit handy. When your little one is looking for a snack, a nutritious treat should always be the first thing they see.
2. Family walks. After a family dinner, it’s a great idea to get the whole moving. A nice walk can help you stay fit, and bond.
3. Get kids excited about cooking. Coming up with a weekly meal plan that will be nutritious and fun to make is a great way to get kids motivated to eat well. Allowing them to be involved with the process makes it fun, rather than feeling like a punishment of sorts.
4. Make dinner-timequality-time. No T.V., just family discussions. This will give your children an opportunity to see the benefits of active interaction, and make dinner-time feel special.
5. Organize Health teams in school. Since our children spend so much of their days at school, it’s important to get that environment in shape as well. Talk to the principal about implementing fun ways to get the children excited about health.
Following these steps will not only help to encourage your children to appreciate and maintain their health, but will teach by example. Showing your dedication to health will make parents great leaders.
Laurie Levy, grandmother of 8, is appalled by the change in children’s health and is a supporter of Michelle Obama’s efforts to fight back. The Let’s Move initiative aims to solve the problem of childhood obesity within one generation, so other grandmothers won’t have to wonder what went wrong, and instead be proud of what went right.