The statistics are scary. For thefirst time in modern civilization,children are expected tohave SHORTER life spans thantheir parents. Considering how farmedical science and technology hascome, this seems preposterous. But, it'strue. Why? Modern lifestyle may beadvanced but it has become downrightunhealthy! The reason for this is twofold;decreased physical activity andpoor nutrition.
The physical expenditure required tosurvive one day in 2010 is far less than itwas in 1910. Ride on mowers, dishwashers,chainsaws, washing machines, andother modern technologies have reducedthe physical workload needed to do simpledaily tasks. Not to mention we live ina culture of inactivity created by computers,video games, and television.
In the 1950's, when my parents grewup in rural Saskatchewan they grew thefood they ate. Potatoes, carrots, andcucumbers from the family garden; milkfrom the cow in the barn; chickens theyraised, and bread fresh from the familyoven. There was no 7-11 offering upfried chicken, slurpees, or supersizedpops.
Life is much different in 2010. Accessto food is unlike ever before. Did youknow that there are over 30,000 items ina grocery store today? And unfortunatelyalot of these choices are instantand processed foods that offer littlenutritional value. Convenience storesgrace every corner and it's possible to geta fast food burger at 4 pm or 4 am.
So, strange as it is, with all the advanceswe have made in modern life; we seem tobe going backwards with our health andthe health of our next generation.
A recent study published in theInternational Journal of Obesity hasfound that girls of obese mothers are 10times more likely to struggle with theirweight. Because the study did not findthe same link between mothers andsons or fathers and daughters, the connectionhas been determined to bebehavioural, not genetic.
This really isn't all that surprising.Although it may seem that HannahMontana and Brittney Spears are therole models for today's girls, it really istheir mothers who teach them aboutbody image. Girls who watch theirmothers struggle with weight issues andhave poor body image issues are morelikely to have the same issues when theybecome adults.
Millions of dollars are spent each yearon preventing childhood obesity. This isdue in part to the belief that obese childrenbecome obese adults. But researchersare now suggesting that we need tofocus on changing the behaviour of theparent if we want to combat obesity inthe children.
If you see an overweight child, chancesare very high that you will also see anoverweight parent. Obesity isn't somethingthat just happens. It's somethingthat people do to themselves. And sadly,something many parents are doing totheir own children. Proper nutrition andphysical activity needs to be learned athome or kids don't stand a chance. IfHappy Meals and chocolate bars are thestaple of nutrition in their house, howcan they be healthy?
As a parent of a toddler, I understandthe frustrations of getting a 2 year old to eatbut parents really need to stop makingexcuses for the fact that their child eatsnothing but white bread and French fries.If you never offer your child brown breadthen of course, they won't like it.
Parents...it's time to make a differencein your kid's lives. Get active andeat healthy yourself. Instilling healthybody image is about teaching children toexercise and eat healthy for wellness; notfor weight loss. Good health starts athome. Take the kids for a walk tonightand let them snack on an apple insteadof a bag of chips. Your family will thankyou for it.
Becky Cryne is a BCRPA certifiedPersonal Trainer and Group FitnessInstructor, STOTT Pilates Mat andReformer Instructor, CFP Pre and PostNatal Fitness Specialist, and ETW YogaExercise Specialist. She can be reached email@example.com.