Keeping Kids Healthy

This morning I felt really frustrated. The reason why I felt this way is because Health Canada is changing the required weekly physical activity from 3 hours per week to 2 1/2 hours per week. This is because there are more and more Canadians that are overweight and obese and they are trying to encourage them to workout. Usually I am all for encouraging people to stay fit and healthy, but I really do not think that 3 hours per week is a lot. I believe if people have time to go to the drive thru, sit on their butts and watch television for hours and hours, then they have a lot of time to prepare healthy food and get their 3 hours of physical activity during the week.

Obviously I am very passionate about all of this, and I talk about ways to keep fit and healthy all the time. It just seems that people either do not care about themselves or are just plain lazy. That may sound harsh, but in reality this is the case for most people.

What bothers me most about all of this is adults are supposed to be role models for their children. How can a parent be a good role model for their children when they are sitting around eating chips and candy? Kids these days find this normal, and they also find it normal to be eating out of packages all the time.

I was having a discussion about this topic with one of my clients at the gym this morning and we were discussing how this generation will die at an earlier age than their parents because of unhealthy lifestyles. This to me is very sad and quite preventable. Unfortunately most children will follow in their parents footsteps, and if they see their parents smoking, drinking and eating garbage food everyday, they may continue with the same pattern which will be passed on to the next generation.

I remember a few months ago I was at the allergy clinic waiting for my appointment, and there was a boy no older than 12 years old with his mother talking to the nurse. What got my attention was the fact that they were discussing his "high blood pressure". This child was not overweight, but his diet was so unhealthy that now he is on medication for his condition. The nurse discussed with the mother that her child would probably feel better if she cut sugar and processed foods out of his diet. My question is, how can the mother be so uneducated about this? Does she really think that this is normal for her 12 year old boy to be on medication for high blood pressure? Or maybe she just lets him eat whatever he wants so he will stop complaining and whining.

We need to drill this into society that this is not normal and your child should not be suffering this way. We are the ones who do the shopping and bring the food into our homes. If your cupboards is filled with cookies and your fridge is filled with pizza and ice cream, your child will be eating it and then problems like child obesity will happen.

Here are some simple and easy ways to keep your children healthy:

  • Keep your children active. Recent studies show that more than half of Canadian children and youth are not active enough for optimal growth and development.
  • Ask your children what activities interest them and get them to try the activity out.
  • Take your children for regular medical checkups and talk to your family doctor about any concerns that affect your child's health.
  • Bring your children to the grocery store and show them all the healthy and delicious food choices that they have.
  • Encourage your children to play outside instead of sitting inside watching TV or playing video games.
  • Have a family activity day once per week. Have someone in your family choose a different activity every week and do it together.
These are just a few simple and effective way to keep your family fit and healthy. If we all just did one thing off the above list, people would be a healthier and happier. There are no excuses for the way things are today and no excuse to fall into the unhealthy trap of a sedentary lifestyle.

Put down those chips and eat an apple instead!