Invest In Our Children
No question our future is in the lives of our children. We send them to school, stress school as their first priority rather than the latest video game, we educate them constantly about the risks and consequences of illegal drugs and drug addiction, and we preach about the tobacco sticks that many years ago were considered cool. We stress these important social aspects to our children.
On the other side, physical education classes have been reduced or cut entirely due to budget constraints in our school systems. The food in school cafeterias continues to be processed, carb-laden (more cost effective to have deep fried, breaded chicken nuggets than grilled chicken) and convenient, fast food to get them fed and back to class.
We cannot begin to talk about bright futures without discussing the importance of children’s health. For years, we have under-stressed and under-invested in health promotion and disease prevention and we are paying the price. We need to protect children from the risks of chronic and lifestyle diseases that threaten to set us back economically and in terms of longevity and quality of life. If we continue as we are, many of us will outlive our own children from the complications of being overweight and morbidly obese.
On an average in our country, there are areas that about 36% of our kids are at an unhealthy weight. One in five preschoolers is either already overweight or at risk. On top of this, obesity is not a condition kids tend to grow out of. Nearly 80% of 10 to 14 year-olds that are obese will remain so as adults. And they are likely to have costly chronic problems including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease that will affect the workforce and economy.
Why do we regulate alcohol and tobacco for youth? Why do we mandate schooling? Because we want to protect kids and give them every opportunity to make good decisions. Bad decisions in youth are especially hard to undo as they mature. What does that mean for today? Make good choices early when it comes to our childrens’ health.
Prevention is key. We should not wait to address obesity until treatment is the only course of action. In order for prevention efforts to succeed, we need to intervene at every level: from the smallest community to the biggest advertiser, from preschool to high school, from the doctor’s office to the playground back to home.
We must confront the difficult task of managing weight problems among youth. Schools and child care centers must adopt policies that improve the nutritional quality of meals and snacks and incorporate physical activity throughout the day. The same priority given to healthy meals and adequate physical activity daily must be given as to the classroom education.
Have you ever considered obesity compared to an ocean liner: It’s difficult to completely turn around and it takes considerable time and maneuvering. Americans are eating more and moving less.
Parents and health care professionals alone can’t reverse the climbing rates of obesity. They need the help of industry, schools, child care centers, youth and community organizations, media, and government to alter social norms so healthy behaviors become part of daily life. Adults in responsible roles in our childrens’ lives need to be on the same page – premium health of our children physically and emotionally.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. If you don’t have children yourself, you have family members or neighbors with children. They need you too. It also takes a country to change the attitude and lifestyles of our children and invest in our mutual futures of full, healthy lives. Can you imagne a society without a Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or billion dollar diet book industry? Weight loss surgery would be a “oh yeah, I remember they used to do that years ago” memory.
I know my children are at a disadvantage due to my morbid obesity. They have the propensity for being overweight. I have made it my personal mission for my children to learn to eat healthy, be regularly active, and most importantly as well to have a high self-esteem and coping mechanisms to deal with emotions and life in a healthful way without the misuse of food. As we empower ourselves, let’s empower our children too.
Believe In Yourself,
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach