* Cardiovascular disease
* High cholesterol
* High blood pressure
* Bone and joint problems
* Sleep apnea
* Poor self-esteem
* Social and psychological issues
According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are highly possible in children and adolescents who are over weight. How scary is it when you go to the doctor and you hear that you have one or more of these conditions listed above. Pretty scary! Now think if you heard these diagnoses for one or more of your children? Even scarier! Even though it is scary, they are very real possibilities. In the article just recently published in April 2015, the CDC says childhood obesity is a very real thing. “In the past 30 years obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents” (1-2) You can read more about this here, https://www.cdc.gov/.
So what do we do about this? Well, leading by example is a great start. Be a positive role model in the eyes of our youth. Choose kind words when speaking to children or even about yourself for that matter. Saying, “hey this family is going on a diet because we are all fat”, is NOT positive. So many children hear this and it does not go away. So, here’s a personal story– when I was in early high school, maybe 13-14 years old, I was a very competitive swimmer and fortunately never had to really worry about my weight. But I LOVED fudge rounds Little Debbie snacks! I got a box every time we went to the grocery store and I ate them…..a lot of them actually. Anyways, so one day I was in a swim suit getting ready to go outside and I remember my mom saying, “Hey, maybe it’s time for you to lay off those fudge rounds”. My mom, one of the most supportive people in my life and at that time in my life a MAJOR roll model, told me that! I’m in my 30’s now and I can remember that like it was yesterday. From that day on I have never touch another Little Debbie snack because of those words. Now I’m sure she did not mean it in a bad way, but it does not change the way it made me feel. Think before you speak to your children or what you say in front of them. They hear it all and they really take it to heart.
If your children or adolescents are already struggling with weight, take it from a perspective of getting healthier and not necessarily from a weight loss perspective. Adolescents and children are very sensitive and can develop eating disorders or disordered eating at a very young age. According to the, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders, ” 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12-25.8″. You can read more about this at https://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/
How can we help? Well like I mentioned before, we need to focus on the positive and make changes to the daily routine.
* Take a family walk after dinner
* Practice whatever sport they are currently in, in the back yard.
* If your kids are at practice, get out of the car and go be present. Whether you are just standing there or you are getting some walking in, they see this and it is positive.
* Stretch while watching television or do 20 jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
* Go swimming, play tennis, bicycling, tag, basketball, skating, laser tag, golfing, karate, gymnastics etc.
* Have your kids help make dinner
* Let your kids help pick out recipes
* Buy water instead of soda, carrots instead of chips etc. Little things go a long way! 🙂
* Limit television and or electronic time each week