I love seeing young families. I decided to take my grandson to a near-by park so that we could spend quality time together. The park is small and located in a middle class neighborhood. We were there for approximately an hour, and during that time period I witnessed one other family out with their child. Lets count, 2 children in the park.
It was a beautiful day, so I wondered where the children were. There was a nice trail for the kids to ride bikes or take a walk as a family. So, why weren’t families in the park on such a beautiful day? Again, it was in a nice neighborhood so safety shouldn’t have been a concern. It bothered me so much, that when we went back to the house and I scoured the neighborhood. Unfortunately, there was not a child in sight. Why aren’t our children riding bikes through the neighborhood or playing hopscotch? I remember playing hopscotch for hours on Saturdays after breakfast and using my roller skates. If we weren’t playing either of those games, we walked around the neighborhood going nowhere in particular.
I spent Saturdays at the roller skating rink with my daughter and for 12 years chauffeured her back and forth to dance classes. I spent another 3 years watching her cheer our high school basket and football team on and running track on the off season. We moved on to college where she danced and her now husband played football. Not every child will be athletic, but we can teach them to move and monitor what they eat, can’t we.
Two people came to mind while I was thinking about the non-existent children in the neighborhood and park. First Maury Povich. Why Maury? Because Maury has brought light to the problems that obese children will endure and how we as parents contribute to that problem. I’ve watched Maury when he has featured children who are severely overweight. I’m not talking about 5 or 10 pounds, but 30, 40 and 50 pounds overweight and they were only 3, 4 or 5 years old. Can you image what they will encounter in school. These children were eating whole pizzas, 3 – 4 pieces of chicken, a dozen doughnuts or cupcakes, and drinking liters of soda. It was one of the saddest shows that I ever witnessed. They were literally feeding their child to death.
Second, I thought about Michelle Obama and the work she did on childhood obesity with the Lets Move campaign. Children are obese because they are inside playing computer games or pasted to the sofa watching TV. While they are watching TV and playing computer games, they are over eating. We’ve allowed our children to become “couch potatoes”. We’re not spending time together experiencing the great outdoors. The sound of children running and playing is missed in the neighborhood. I miss seeing moms sitting in the park mingling with other moms and watching their children play.
Furthermore, I know times have changed and we can’t let our children run around most neighborhoods unsupervised, but we can encourage our children to get outside and move. And we can monitor what they eat. If we as parents aren’t encouraging our children to move, how will they learn about exercise and being healthy. If we aren’t setting limits, and providing healthy meals how will they know about healthy eating?
We live in the land of good and plenty, and we are some of the most obese people in the world. I decided to join the Lets Move movement. Not only for my grandchildren, but for myself as well. I want to join my daughter and son-in-law in setting an example for my grandchildren. Exercise has not been at the top of my list, but I’m striving to change that each day. I make it a point to take walks with my grandchildren when they visit, and when I visit them. We will go to the park, ride bicycles, and shot hoops in the driveway. I don’t want my grandchildren to become one of America’s statistics.
The struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases associated with being overweight is real. I want to a part of the solution, not the problem. Finally, how do you feel about obesity in our country? What outdoor activities do you with your child? Leave us a comment, we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. You may also like 10 Tips To Get Your Child Moving.