Importance of Exercise in the Youth Population

The current percentage of U.S. Children who are overweight are staggering.  The rate of childhood obesity has tripled since 1980, and the rates of obesity in teens have quadrupled from 5% to 20% over the same amount of time (Obesity Rates & Trends Overview, 2016). The good news it is beginning to level off.

As parents, why are we allowing this to happen?  Are we so upset with ourselves we cannot help those who cannot help themselves yet?  Is this not what parenting should be about?  Shouldn’t we be raising our children to be better than ourselves and trying to help them become more successful in all aspects of life?

When our 80% of our adult population does not meet our government’s national physical activity guidelines, it does not surprise me that the average child does not get 60 minutes of exercise per day.  After all, we as their parents are their biggest role model (Physical Inactivity in the United States, 2016).  Due to this level of inactivity being at an all-time high combined with the increased amount of sugar put into our everyday foods it is one of the primary reasons, we as a nation, are raising one of the unhealthiest generations ever.

It’s time that we start looking inward to our self to figure out why it is we don’t seem to have the willpower to say no to our child when they reach out for the fruit snacks instead of the bag of carrots.  We have slowly been removing these types of foods from our pantry.

Sugar has the same addictive properties as cocaine as they both affect the same portion of the brain.  It is no wonder that our children become addicted so quickly to this.  I don’t buy into the fact that we don’t have time to cook.  I say “put down your electronic devices, stay off social media for a few hours and spend it in the kitchen with your children teaching them how to cook real food with ingredients that you can pronounce.”

Now this is not to say there aren’t families out there who are already doing this with their children, but the statistics do not lie, and thus we have (insert percentage).  Let’s come together and encourage our children to get outside and play.  Support them through setting the example yourself and perhaps our efforts will help in the uphill battle of obesity and the prevalence of adulthood diabetes.

References

Obesity Rates & Trends Overview. (2016, September). Retrieved from the State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America: http://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/

Physical Inactivity in the United States. (2016, November). Retrieved from the State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America: http://stateofobesity.org/physical-inactivity/

 

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