Don't be left out!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Your Children Need You Healthy

Did you know, according to the CDC, obesity is the, "most common health problem facing children." So common, in fact, that nearly one out of three kids and teens are overweight or obese.

For parents and their kids, that's a pretty alarming statistic. A more alarming concern is that overweight and obese children are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as bone, joint and sleep concerns not to mention lower self-esteem and depression.

As parents we would walk to the ends of the Earth to keep our children safe and healthy. We buy the best car seats, schedule regular doctor check ups, child proof everything necessary, sign them up for physical activities like swimming and soccer, hand out vitamins and encourage them to eat their fruits and veggies.

While all these are necessary and wonderful steps to keeping our kids in top notch health, recent studies studies have suggested that one of the top contributing factors to overweight and obese children is parental weight. A study from the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that, "Nearly 80 percent of obese 10- to 14-year-olds with an obese parent will be obese as adults. Currently, 34 percent of adults have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, classifying them as obese."



I know as a busy parent it can be easy to put taking care of one's self on the back burner in order to meet the needs of your children first but the truth is…..


Your children need you to be healthy. 
Your children need you to be in shape & eat well. 
Your children need a good role model. 


As parents we have a ripple effect on our children.  As much as we like it or not, how we take care of our bodies impacts their health both positively and negatively.  You can buy the healthiest food available and enroll them in every physical activity opportunity imaginable but the bottom line is children are watching, listening, absorbing and learning how you move and what you eat.  One of the simplest, yet most impactful, ways to teach the values of a healthy lifestyle for your children is to start with yourself.  

Both common sense and studies have shown a direct correlation between mother's activity levels to children's levels. One study from the UK noting that, "More active mothers tended to have more active children.".  I wouldn't be surprised if that same theory holds true for nutritional choices as well.

If you know me, you already know that I think BMI for the most part is crap and typically could give a darn what the scale says, but BMI and weight aside study after study has found that kids and adults alike are less active today and we're not making good nutritional choices. The CDC reports that only 33% of US adults are getting the recommended intake of fruits and only 27% of adults are eating the recommended amount of vegetables. Combine that with the 20% of US adults getting the weekly recommended amount of aerobic and resistance exercise and it's no wonder why, in general, the majority of the US population is in poor health.

Keep in mind you don't need to be a marathoner or crossfitter to be a great role model.  Meeting just the minimum activity guidelines provided by the CDC is a great start.  The CDC recommendations for adults are 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise as well as two strength based workouts a week.  

At first glance 150 minutes may sounds extensive but divide that up among four days and that's just under 40 minutes of aerobic activity. Think of activities like brisk walking, aerobics class, bike ride, etc.  Totally doable!  Click here If you'd like to read more on the physical activity recommendations for children ages 6-17. 

I know as a parents we want the best for our children yet so often I see and hear parents shrugging off their own self care because they "ran out of time in the day" or are too busy taking care of other family members to plan and execute a exercise/diet routine.  Putting your health first puts your whole family at an advantage.  Think of it like the oxygen masks on the airplane. You always take care of yourself first before helping others.  

Regardless if you're overweight, obese, inactive or eat like crap I'm not writing this out of judgement but to offer support and encouragement.  I'm not without fault. According to the BMI scale I'm classified as overweight and certainly have some bad habits I can focus on addressing.  But the days of thinking of my health as a separate entity from my child's is long gone.  Knowing the impact my attempts at a healthy lifestyle is no longer in vain.  It serves a great, important purpose that I can not ignore, and neither should you.  



















12 comments:

  1. Fantastic post Annie! I think we underestimate the social aspect of weight gain. There are tons of studies that make this relationship between how much a spouse, parent, close friends will impact our weight. We're social creatures and the way we interact has a strong pull on our choices. I read so many articles that point out this relationship between mothers and children, starting from pregnancy onwards. We NEED to talk about this more! Thanks for sharing the deets!

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    1. Thanks lady! I agree the social affect of how we eat is amazing! I'd love to see any additional studies you may have!

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  2. Wonderful post! I absolutely agree! With all the influences in life, parents should be positive role models in everything we do, say, and eat! Shared this!

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  3. Great post and thanks for sharing those stats! I know that when I have kids I am going to try to instill healthy living in them. I recently read another post about how basically Americans are okay with obesity, since whenever someone says something against obese people, it's seen as fat shaming. And I somewhat agree. Childhood obesity should not be okay. I get the whole "love yourbody" message, but we also need to accept that in most cases, if one is obese, they are not (always) healthy.

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    1. Thanks Patty! I agree…there seems to be a fine line between sharing facts about obesity and the health concerns that go along with it vs. fat shaming. I'm all for the love your body message but not at the determent of your health.

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  4. Excellent post! I 100% agree that what we model for our children helps shape what they will do and become in the future, including exercise and good eating habits. I love seeing my son try to run with me, do yoga moves (he does a mean downward dog) or jump on my foam roller because he sees me doing these things all the time. I want to set a good example for him so it becomes second nature to work out and not seen as a "chore"!

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    1. Thank you! I love that he does yoga! You are a wonderful example, I'm sure!

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  5. Children learn by example!

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  6. Great post. My goal with my blog and running (besides taking care of myself) is to teach my boys healthy eating and healthy living habits. I'm a pediatric nurse and I can't tell you how many overweight kids I see in the hospital all the time. It disgusts me when I see a parent bringing in McDonalds for them for lunch or dinner, and it happens A LOT. It's really a shame.

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    1. That does make me sad too Sue. Don't get me wrong- we've eaten our fair share of McDonalds but it's a once in awhile occasion, not an even weekly occurrence. I know it's hard to be a good role model but it's soooo important!

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