“America's future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live." Jane Addams
It's important to understand our roles and responsibilities as parents, adults, teachers and coaches to promote a healthier lifestyle for our youth.
Physical inactivity crosses all demographics: socioeconomic, ethnicity, and even age.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 16% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.
The Journal Eating & Weight Disorders finds that comments regarding a child's weight is a good predictor to unhealthy eating disorders. Its a slippery slope wanting to take the opportunity to say something, but saying the wrong thing can lead to serious long-term health issues
Furthermore, there's a correlation between the diminished utilization of physical education classes in schools and the increase of obesity among our youth, which is one of the biggest challenges Kinesiologist's face today.
So it's imperative as adults to promote greater access for our youth to participate in extracurricular activities that they will learn and gain through adulthood.
Encourage your child to participate in an array of enjoyable activities, and minimize specializing in just one.
In fact, according to the University of Wisconsin Health Sports Center, there is a 50% greater risk of having an injury specializing in one sport.
Here's some suggestions that can assist parenting in constructing healthier choices for a child:
Parents should avoid discussing weight with and around kids.
Incorporate healthy patterns and changes as a family.
Serve smaller portion sizes and individualize servings on plates in the kitchen, and not at the dining table.
Dine in together as a family when time is permitted.
Encourage your child to play multiple sports, instead of trying to specialize in one sport prior to the age 15.
Minimize over-scheduling children in to many activities.
As adults our intentions can be well-intended when discussing weight or scheduling activities for our youth, just be aware and understand the long-term implications it may have on a child.