Today, several of my blogging colleagues are in Washington DC as a part of a conversation regarding the health of America’s children with the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. (How awesome is that?!) I think that it is amazing that Mrs. Obama is spreading the message of child fitness. Many of us have heard the statistic that “nearly one in three kids in America is overweight or obese”. It is going to take families and communities as well as helpful programs like Let’s Move in order to reverse this growing trend.
I don’t remember there being a lot of overweight or obese kids when I was growing up in the south. (Adults were a different story, but overweight kids were the exception.) Two main things that stand out which has changed over the years is nutrition and exercise. Most of our meals growing up were home-cooked. Also, dessert and snacks were considered treats, not everyday occurrences. We were also much more active as kids. There were so many physical after-school activities; we played in the park or in our backyards and we also had gym every day in school. Times have changed.
While I think that government policies and campaigns like Let’s Move are amazing ways to assist parents in raising healthy kids, I still believe that educating parents to make different lifestyle choices is most important. I don’t know about your kids but my kids watch what I do much more than they listen to what I say.
Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary. – “Social Aims” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
(The current, simplified version of the above quote is “What you do speaks so loud, that I cannot hear what you say.”)
That is why I think that in order for us moms to have healthy kids, we have to make an effort to be healthy moms too. If we are overweight or obese, it’s going to be difficult to encourage our kids to be healthy. Of course, there are medical exceptions and different people have various challenges that are beyond “eating right and exercise” Fortunately, most kids are smart enough to understand generalities and exceptions. For the “average” mom though, I think that if we can get into the habits of the five things that most health advisers tend to agree on, then we are setting our kids up to be healthy – not just for today but also in the future. Below are 5 ways for moms to inspire kids to be healthy (by example!):
1) Eating healthy
2) Getting exercise
3) Reducing our stress
4) Getting enough sleep
5) Drinking adequate amounts of water
I’m not talking about perfection or being extreme. Life is short – have the cake (just not ALL of the cake ALL of the time). Besides, total deprivation creates all types of problems anyway. In any event, I think that Mrs. Obama is such a great example for the Let’s Move campaign because she moves!
My current favorite fitness “helpers”
-Taylor scale (It’s affordable and accurate.)
-My Brita Water filter (I still don’t “get” buying bottled water!)
What are some ways that you inspire your kids to be healthy?