Looking back at my childhood, I begin remembering the “good old days”. I remember my neighborhood friends, playing baseball, basketball, roller-skating, learning how to ride a bike! I begin to remember all those incidents in which I fell and added one after another bruise and scar to my body. What I don’t remember about my childhood was ever choosing to stay indoors, I don’t remember spending numerous hours obsessing over video games or learning to “facebook”. The technology I do remember using as a child was the family video camera…I was a born producer/director/actress/host.
When I make a comparison between my growing up to the growing up kids are doing today, I wonder, which is the better way to grow up and how will it affect us in the future?
I don’t have children nor do I have a little brother or sister (my younger sister is 17) but I do have cousins, friends with kids, a sister that works with kids and friends who do the same… and what I see in kids today is that outdoor activities or exercise are almost nonexistent in children’s daily lives (speaking of children in the u.s.). I also hear the topic come up almost daily, “obesity in the United States remains high” and, “child obesity at peak”. So looking at numbers, More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. (This is information is from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). And over the last decade, there has been a significant increase, an average 20% increase varying from state to state.
Organizations and even the government are working to tackle this issue and lower these numbers. Still, are we going to wait until we reach that point of obesity to begin working on the issue? Are we going to wait until someone tells us we are sick and that we’re not going to get better until we change our eating habits? Or are we going to wait until someone points out that we’ve gained weight or we look back on those pictures and think, what happened?
In my opinion, we shouldn’t wait until this is an issue to do something about it. Let’s prevent it in the first place?! And the only way this will get done is by taking care of it at home! What better than to raise our children to be healthy rather than letting them drown in video games, watching television, eating frozen dinners or fast food to later learn that they are overweight?! Now, I wasn’t raised by America’s healthiest parents but I was raised in the 90′s/early 2000′s when technology hadn’t become what it has today. When it was normal for a child to go outside, run and play and when fast food joints hadn’t taken over the U.S.
Just this past Sunday I decided I had a day free to do nothing so I decided to take my little cousin to the park. This six-year-old with all the energy in the world was ecstatic, ecstatic at the fact that he’d be going outdoors to play, something he doesn’t do often. So for the next few hours, my cousin and I ran, jumped and played make-believe at the park. When I told him it was time to go, he was of course, sad and he asked when we could do it again. Looking at the kid and seeing how happy a trip to the park had made him made me think, why aren’t these kids doing this more often?!
Based on my experience, knowledge and surroundings, I come to the conclusion that until exercise and outdoor activities become a part of ones lives, childhood obesity or obesity for that matter won’t see any change. Taking your kid to the park or hitting the gym once in a while won’t end obesity BUT it will help! Make the change!