Family Magazine

Combating Childhood Obesity – the Fun Way

By Lindsayleighbentley @lindsayLbentley

Did you know that my children’s generation is the first to be projected to have a shorter life-expectancy than their parents?

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This is a tragedy.

Childhood obesity is on the rise.  And it’s not the kids’ fault.

Over the past 30 years childhood obesity has tripled, making more than 1 in 3 children overweight or obese.

I truly believe that obesity is more damaging to a child than being too thin.

When a child becomes obese, it drastically increases their likelihood of developing a host of diseases from heart disease to diabetes to cancer.

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Obviously, diet is, in my opinion, the main culprit.

But we often forget the importance of exercise for children.

This is the first time in history where children are kept indoors almost exclusively.  From perfectly sealed new construction homes, to schools with windows that don’t even open and fluorescent lighting, to household activities focusing around electronic devices that encourage the sedentary lifestyle that more and more americans are adopting.

Children used to be extremely active.  From working on family farms, to walking several miles to school each day, to simply having hours of play time outside daily.

It is not uncommon in other countries for babies to take their naps daily outdoors in a bassinet, bundled in blankets, even in the winter.  

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We don’t get it every day, but our goal is to have an hour (at least) of outdoor play time every day.

If your children aren’t used to going outside daily, it may be a bit of a struggle.

But make them do it.  And get out there with them!

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Arm them with bubbles, shovels, a camera, a butterfly net, a bucket, sidewalk chalk, a ball, etc.  Before they realize it, they will be lost in a world of make-believe, sunshine, and fresh air.

Even better…when the weather will permit, let them run wild without shoes, or heck, a shirt for that matter.  Let them get dirty, dig in the mud, eat leaves, and scuff their knees.

You will find that their mood is boosted, they will sleep better at night, have a better appetite for healthy foods, have better cognitive function, and form a foundation for health and fitness that will {likely} last a lifetime.

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live well. be well.

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