Rachel Ray was on Good Morning America today, discussing child obesity. She has some great ideas, but I found the segment too general. We need more discussion of specific things that a parent can do to prevent (or treat) obesity. She was promoting a family based approach, which is wonderful. The entire family needs to be involved in treating this problem. Active family activities should be planned for weekends. My family loves to go hiking in different parks or walking in the botanical gardens. We also love to have races. I bring my son to the local track and he rides his bicycle while I run. He always win the race- which he thinks is hilarious. We are having so much fun and he doesn’t even realize that he is “exercising”. When you act like physical activity is fun, your child believes that physical activity is fun. On the other hand, if you think being active is a chore, your child will also. I recommend sitting down and brainstorming all of the active games you can play with your child.
Here are some of my recommendations… I will list more whenever I blog.
Decrease inactivity! Limit TV, video games, and non-schoolwork computer use to 2 hours per day (total).
Incorporate activity into daily living. For example, walk to school, play outside, ride bikes, use stairs instead of elevators and escalators, park car at end of lot and walk to destination.
Increase vigorous activity! Child should get AT LEAST 45 minutes, 4 times a week.
Encourage organized sports, swimming, martial arts, basketball, speed-walking, biking, and rollerblading. Suggest dancing, hiking, gardening, ice skating, jumping rope, playing tennis, raking leaves, shoveling snow, and weight training.
Set a good example by getting some exercise yourself.
Establish exercise routines.
Make exercise a family activity! Go for a brisk walk after dinner each night.
There are many other fun activities to try. But first, try to think of some yourself. Your children will thank you!