The balance of living right: Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity has almost become a buzz word. But what does it really mean? It simply means the weights are out of balance. Ideally, we burn as many calories as we consume, and up until recent years children had no problem in burning calories faster than they took them in.

Some have argued it is increasingly ‘unhealthy’ processed foods that mainly cause our population to become overweight; the kind that makes your dentist cringe as well. Lots of sugars, lots of carbs that will turn into sugars, and way too much fat. However, that is only one factor, and in some cases, a small factor. It is the change of life style that affects our children as much, or more, than just their choice of food.

All day schools, topped sometimes by daycare before and after simply cannot produce the activity level a child may have had years prior: running and jumping and playing in the yard or around the neighborhood. Neighborhoods no longer are as safe as they once were, and often single parent families have to sacrifice playtime together for a trip to the store or another ‘necessity’ in order to maximize their time together.

Children are kept quiet by being handed any number of electronic devices, while in the shopping cart, in the car, so even their minds are no longer interacting with their actual environment. While online schooling and online training are convenient, they also need to be balanced carefully by engaging in exercise and social contact. And no, not the Facebook kind.

Suggestions to keep your children healthy beyond the healthy snack that thrills your dentist as well:

  • Wherever possible and time allows, walk to your destination. A walk gives you exercise, fresh air and an opportunity to interact with your child.
  • Observe actively. Point out interesting situations, people, landmarks, facts. By engaging your child’s mind you awaken their curiosity to seek out new and interesting things on their own, promoting an active life style.
  • Teach proper posture in sitting, lifting and bending. Proper posture ensures proper blood flow, which secures life giving oxygen gets to all body parts, and therefore promotes overall body health.
  • Model good eating habits. Try to take meals together as a time of communication and sharing. If you don’t just grab a bite on the go, not only are you less tempted to grab “fast food”, but you will also allow your body to digest properly.

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