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Beating Childhood Obesity: The High Performance Household

Beating Childhood Obesity: The High Performance Household

Brett Klika C.S.C.S.

We all know there’s a problem.  The percentage of kids that are overweight and unhealthy is growing at a disturbing rate.  Most barometers of public health estimate that within 5 years, the childhood obesity rate will reach 30%.

That implies that 1 out of 3 kids will be at a higher risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other related problems. Blame comes from every direction.  We are very good at blaming in our society.  The schools, government, video game industry, and fast food companies are all making our kids fat, right?

While some truth could be construed from the above statement, addressing the problem in this manner is like being on a sinking ship and spending your time and energy yelling at the ocean for filling your boat up with water.

A better solution would be to find where the water is getting in, and stop it yourself.

What do you stand for in your family from a health and wellness standpoint?  Is it in what you would consider your “parenting credo?”  Do you have a culture of wellness in your home?

Study after study, book after book, expert opinion after expert opinion all point to the attitudes and expectations towards health in the home as the most significant factor contributing to the health, or lack thereof, of every member of the family.

This isn’t a “blame” situation.  It’s a realization of the possible impact we can have on the health of our children as role models at home.  Stacks of research and years of experience have led me to 3 primary ways we can create a culture of wellness in our household.

By modeling, managing, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we as parents, teachers, and coaches can help reverse the current disturbing trends.

Model:    If we want our kids to be healthy, we need to be healthy.  Consider your most prominent habits, good and bad.  Both are modeled to your children every day. Are you OK if they model both either now or later in life?

Manage:  We are the “gatekeepers” of many of the things that can either improve or impair our children’s health.  Kids don’t buy video game systems and video games.  They don’t buy junk food either.  Young kids can’t really buy anything unless we enable it. Sometimes we must make a decision to take a stand. This creates an expectation for behavior.

Maintain:  Modeling and managing health in our home is a very direct process.  What happens though, when kids get out on their own?  Do we model and manage  a way that helps form a healthy, realistic, positive view of exercise and nutrition for life?

Within this framework there are many activities that happen in the home that depending on how they are modeled, managed, and maintained, can help or hinder a youngster’s health.

Take exercise for example.  If it’s something you feel is important for your kids to adapt into their life, how do you model it?  What’s your language and attitudes towards regular exercise?  If your kids mirrored this, would it look like?

How do you manage it? Do you create an expectation for activity?  Are your kids allowed to watch TV and play video games with no time or access boundaries?  Do your kids have time to play and be active outside of sports?

What strategies do you use to make sure your kids maintain fitness as a way of life?  Is exercise something that is positive for them?  Are they going to have positive memories of exercise or physical activity with the family? Do they know any physical activities outside of competitive sports?

Realize the positive impact we can have by implementing basic household health strategies for our children.  Model, manage and maintain to help create a future of happy, healthy, pain free adults.

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