Yes I am going to talk about Childhood Obesity. Why? Because it is a massive epidemic effecting millions of children around the world.
There are many studies that say this generation of children will likely have a shorter lifespan than the generation before.
As a child, I was fat. I was not chubby or plump. I was fat. Without going into a lot of details, I ate because I was unhappy for a number of reasons, including being bullied for BEING fat.
That became a vicious circle because the more I was bullied, the more I was unhappy and the more I was unhappy, the more I ate and the more I ate the fatter I got, so I got bullied more. Sound familiar?
It sucks to not be able to play like the other kids, to be that guy who was always picked last and as I got to be a teenager to repeatedly hear from girls “I don’t think of you that way.”
There are many health complications that come from the childhood obesity epidemic. Type 2 diabetes used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes, but many children are being diagnosed with it, and at younger and younger ages.
On top of all this, you were expected to be funny. You know the old saying “Fat people are jolly.” I know for me it was how I developed my sense of humour which led to me being a comedian. Back then, I figured if I got people to laugh WITH me they wouldn’t laugh AT me.
As bad as it was in my day nearly 45 years ago, it is worse now. Why is it worse?
First of all, when I was in school, bullying generally ended when the school day ended (though not always) but with so called social media, bullying can follow children 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
We have all read the stories about the skyrocketing suicide rate among young people because of bullying. It can be relentless and picking on someone for being fat is one of the last acceptable prejudices.
Watch TV shows and try to see how often the fat guy (or girl) is the butt of the jokes. If you need a laugh, you can always laugh at the fat guy.
I have even seen videos of YouTube where people put compilations together of fat kids falling down or fat people at the mall or fat people doing stupid things. It can be funny to watch people do stupid things (America’s Funniest Videos has been on over 20 years doing that) but it seems they are just seen as much funnier when a fat person does it.
There is the problem of the typical North American diet, which sadly seems to be spreading around the world. We have become a nation of fast food, quick snacks and convenience food.
Have you ever noticed now many Quickee Mart type stores are located near schools? At one very famous one near us, I watch kids walk out with a fountain drink in a big plastic REFILLABLE cup. How big? Without ice, it hold 64 ounces of pop ( or nearly 2 litres ).
I read recently that MacDonald’s in the United States is talking about changing their dollar menu to a 50 cent menu. Yay! Even cheaper junk food. Yes I know they health healthy options, but they are doing this because of the drop in business as people are going elsewhere to get their healthier options.
I am not just pointing the find at MacDonald’s because there are many other places offering food just as unhealthy. Places like this used to be a treat, but now, with the busy lifestyle of some parents today, it is becoming a staple diet.
Kids are spending way to much time sitting and staring at screens rather than being active. Did you know that the recommendation for children is 2 hours or less of screen time per day, and for kids under 2 no screen time at all.
So is it all doom and gloom? It doesn’t have to be. As parents or grandparents or other caregivers, you have a large say in what the children eat.
I remember watch Dr.Phil one day and they were talking about this very subject. There was a woman with a child who was 4 years old and weighed around 100 pounds. When Dr. Phil asked about the diet, the mom said the child eats fries, chicken nuggets, and lots of soda. He asked why not feed him healthy food and the mom said “This is all he will eat.” Dr,.Phil said “HE’S 4!! Who’s in charge here?”
A simple plan for kids is one I am actually building a show around that I hope to present to schools locally. (Remember I am also a ventriloquist and magician). It is called 5-2-1-0 Blast Off to Health.
This stands for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of physical activity per day and 0 sodas and sugary drinks. It’s not that hard right?
There are other things you can do to create a healthy family. Go to the park and play. Go for a walk. GO OUTSIDE!
There are other ways you can educate yourself about healthy family activities. In the Vancouver BC area where I live there is a great event called Healthy Family Expo. (http://www.healthyfamilyexpo.com) It is being held March 6th 2016.
It is a like a trade show for families to learn about all aspects of healthy families. There is fun activities like the great kid’s singers Bobs and Lolo, there are lots of companies with healthy products. You should check it out.
Check back with my blog and look for a 2-for-1 coupon code coming soon!
In almost every major city there is what is commonly referred to as a Parents Magazine or Newspaper. They often list all the family type activities you can attend – many for free.
Take the kids grocery shopping. Show them what vegetables look like. If you don’t know, then you can learn with them. Don’t laugh. There are many adults who walk around the produce section at the grocery store like it was quarantined.
Remember that as parents, grandparents or caregivers, children look to you to be examples. The cool part of this is that be leading by example, you get healthier at the same time.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!