Obesity is a public health problem, very often caused by poverty. Fast food and processed food is usually more affordable and healthy food and exercise are usually unavailable to households with limited resources.
Childhood obesity is especially one of most serious public health problems worldwide, with an estimated 42 million overweight children under 5 years old in 2010. Fourteen million children and adults in Australia are overweight or obese. Health problems resulting from obesity are diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, and children are especially at risk. We need to teach our children to eat healthier and exercise, and also help out families in need to live healthier lifestyles.
There are several inspiring actions that parents, teachers and the community can take to help children and family get healthy. Here you’ll find three points of inspiration to live healthier and teach your child to eat healthy as well as some child fitness tips.
NoTime to Wait
Obesity Australia launched a report “Obesity: A National Epidemic and its Impact on Australia” on March 27, 2014 at a Parliamentary Breakfast in Canberra. 25% children from 5 to 17 are overweight or obese in Australia according to the report. The organization has waged war on obesity in all fronts, by looking at the causes and finding solutions together with government support. In the nicknamed “No Time to Weight” Report, the organization recognized as sources of obesity the abundance of food and sedentary lifestyle, in a population where 90% are already predisposed genetically to obesity. During pregnancy, if the mother’s diet is insufficient in calories and protein, the child will become predisposed to an unhealthy balance between hunger and satiety, which will cause accelerated weigh gain as they grow up. And lastly, an important cause of obesity is unhealthy lifestyle, with unhealthy food choices, and lack of exercise. Based on this report, some of the most important actions to take for everyone struggling with obesity, or even every parent who wants to prevent obesity and health problems, is healthy and sufficient eating during pregnancy, healthy eating for children and adults alike and exercise.
One of our favorite actions has been Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move movement. While other US First Ladies would bake cookies, Michelle Obama took it upon herself to fight obesity in her country. In the US childhood obesity is present in three to five children and especially the African and Hispanic communities are affected. Children are moving less, with gym hours cut at school, bigger portions offered, increased snacking between meals, time spent playing videogames and watching TV, etc. The Let’s Move initiative was created to help both children and parents to make healthy choices and exercise, to ensure that schools have healthier food, and to ensure that all families can access affordable food. We find this movement particularly inspiring as the First Lady has taken action to prevent obesity in all fronts. The initiative inspires and teaches people to eat healthy, and especially eat healthy on a budget and it teaches children and families to get active.
Food Revolution Day
Jamie Oliver is one of World’s favorite chefs. Not only is he a genius with great creations and recipes, but he’s also taken it upon himself to teach America to cook, eat healthy, but most importantly, to teach children where food comes from. Food Revolution Day, calls for all children and families to take action to learn how to eat healthy, and spread the word. Jamie is also sharing recipes that even children can cook themselves.
Why is this inspiring? With all the processed food and fast food available, our children have forgotten where food comes from. Governments, lobbyists and corporations can ignore health violations and continue the abhorring meat farms (where animals are treated harshly) more easily, in a world that is increasingly becoming more ignorant of what we’re eating. This revolution, or movement, can teach children how food is made, where it comes from, how it is grown, so they can grow an appreciation for the meals we get each day on our table, and so they can learn to cook and eat healthy, instead of eating unhealthy food from fast foods and restaurants all their lives.
While we encourage you to check out these movements to find out more about healthy recipes, here are some children fitness ideas to fight childhood obesity, as recommended by the American Council and Exercise:
1. Soccer and Basketball: Apart from being very fun and active sports, these two sports promote teamwork and teach children how to be social, make friends, care about others, while exercising. It also promotes hand/eye/foot coordination and increases attention span.
2. Martial Arts and Dancing: Apart from physical activity, martial arts and dancing promote coordination and discipline as well. Watch Karate Kid, the Jaden Smith 2010 version, and learn how Kung Fu taught by an inspiring Chinese Version of Miyagi played by Jackie Chan, can teach your child to pick up his/her clothes from the floor. Dancers just like martial artists, love what they’re doing so much, that they develop the discipline to keep going and become better at it. Moreover, for parents that cannot afford martial arts and dancing classes, Youtube is the place to go, to find free classes.
3. Bike Riding and Swimming: These are activities parents can do with their children. Many cities worldwide are becoming more and more bike-friendly, but this is an activity you can also do in the park. You can also take your child to learn how to swim very early in public pools, the beach, or appropriate swimming facilities.
4. Obstacle Courses and Jumping Rope: We used to play jumping rope, or jumping obstacles at gym and with our friends, but children today prefer videogames. Persuade your children to try these activities and you will find that they will ask themselves why they didn’t go outside sooner.
5. Board Sports and Skating: Winter Olympics were just a few months ago and we are all inspired to try any of those sports. In-line skating, Ice-skating, skiing or snowboarding are especially fun for children or for our inner child, as these sports speak to our love for sliding and letting go. Children can get started snowboarding as early as 8 years old. Don’t forget to buy the appropriate headgear to protect them and look for the best snowboard brands to start your adventure. Maybe you’re going to have a little gold-medal winner in your family.