by Ryan Crawley for Dads Pad
The United States is a great country to live in. We all know that already. We have freedoms and get to make choices that we wouldn’t be able to in many places around the globe. However, our country also has its drawbacks. One major concern is the declining health of its citizens.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s latest survey, the United States is the fattest country in the world. The obesity rate in America for people ages 15 and over is at an alarming 38.2%. More than a third of the adults are obese, and it is quickly rising. By 2030, the obesity rate in the United States is expected to be at 47%. This trend is one that every parent should be greatly concerned about.
To put it simply, you can’t be obese and healthy at the same time. Carrying around extra weight will sap your energy, make you more tired, and lessen your quality of life. And these are just some of the minor side effects of being fat. Obesity puts people at greater risks for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and more. No educated parent wants their child to face these things when they don’t have to. It is perfectly avoidable. Learning not to overeat is rather a simple thing. It’s amazing how people just don’t have the willpower to push themselves away from the dinner table or limit the amount of snacks that they eat.
How to Stop the Trend
One of the best ways to end the obesity cycle is to start immediately with your family. Change always should start first at home. Set a good example for your kids. Have healthy foods in the house that will not leave them overweight. Everything begins at home, and you have to practice what you preach. If the children are to eat healthy, then everyone in the house needs to eat healthy. Overweight parents can’t talk a good game to their children, and then continue living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Bringing the children to the grocery store and teaching them how to read labels before putting things in the cart is a good start. Show them that they have a choice between being healthy and being obese by analyzing the calories, sugar, and fat content in the foods they choose. Do a few little experiments and have them do the shopping for the week while you just watch. Check to see if they are correctly choosing the healthier foods.
Fast food is a staple in our society. It is not ever going to go away. Being able to get food quickly at a reasonable price is something that each family on the run knows all about. However, even at fast food restaurants, there are healthy choices that can be made. Ask to see the nutritional information on their foods next time your family goes to one of these places. They always have this information somewhere, and many times it is behind the counter. Analyze the nutritional facts with your children and determine which foods they should be eating and which ones they should be avoiding.
Introducing your children to a couple of the newer apps and websites that help people watch their diet closely would be a great way to use modern technology in the battle to stay fit. Kids love using electronic devices and computers, so they might rather do it this way than keeping a food diary with pencil and paper. It is much easier to do all this when they are young rather than trying to have them change their lifestyle when they are obese and older.
Another reason why people are becoming overweight is because they are leading a more sedentary lifestyle. Too many people lay around every single day being inactive. Children are doing this as well. How many would rather sit in front of the television or the computer eating chips rather than go play outside? Just because we live in a society with technology does not mean we should spend hours texting or playing games on a phone rather than actually physically being out in the world.
Enroll your children into activities that they can continue doing for the rest of their lives. Have a family activity day once a week. Get everyone out of the house and go for a hike or a bike ride. Walk around and look at animals at the zoo. The habits you teach your children now will be repeated by them all throughout their lives. Being a responsible parent means more than just making sure your child gets good grades. It means providing them the knowledge and the skills needed to have a successful and healthy life.
Ryan Crawley is a writer and educator from Washington, Illinois. He enjoys using humor in all of his writing. You can find articles by him on several top Education, Parenting, and Fitness sites. To contact him, check out his LinkedIn profile. www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-crawley-b854bb146