Online Health and Fitness Resources for Parents
I have two kids in need of your help. According to our doctor, my 12-year-old daughter, Ashley, is a little overweight. I've recently noticed that she is self-conscious in certain situations at school. She often asks me questions about diet and exercise, so I know she's interested in making a change. The doctor also said that my 10-year-old son Bobby is a little overweight. He's not interested in sports and is oblivious to his weight issue. I am very busy, live too far from your location and I don't know where to start. Can you please help?
Thanks, Mrs. McCarthy
Hello Mrs. McCarthy,
I'm grateful that you're attacking this issue head-on. Unfortunately, many parents take the "wait-and-see" approach. Before you know it, their kids have become part of the childhood obesity epidemic plaguing our society...
My Initial Thoughts
For Ashley: Many young girls feel pressured to look a certain way. Ashley is a step ahead as she is motivated to change her lifestyle. Your goal as a parent is to support and encourage her all the way.
For Bobby: Your son is still young, but may be approaching puberty. Hormones are raging, so it's difficult to pinpoint a cause for the weight issue. There are some key questions that need to be answered, like is he active and how well does he eat?
As both of your kids are either hitting puberty or smack in the middle of it, you have to understand that their bodies are in a state of flux where anything can happen. So I say control what you can control and let nature run its course. That is, you need to monitor their nutrition and exercise behaviours.
Find Advice on the Web
Since you are so busy, online advice for home exercise and nutrition is a great way to go. In this day and age, information is readily available at your fingertips; you just need to know where to look.
Several years ago I was hired as the Director of Exercise Planning & Development for an online company called Truestar Health. This online system is a reputable resource for health and fitness. Ashley can sift through the thousands of pages of information on nutrition and exercise and you can do the same for Bobby. There are videos that demonstrate how to do each exercise in your personal program and meal plans based on individual goals. You can also check out the sister site of ParentDish, ThatsFit.ca, for some great health and nutrition ideas (including plenty of healthy, nutritious recipes for the whole family).
Your kids should be eating for improved health -- not weight loss -- as they are not obese. Go online and select a plan that includes balanced meals. Do not go on any fad diets that eliminate carbohydrates or focus on one specific food. Kids need variety and a healthy combination of carbohydrates, fats and lean proteins for proper growth and development.
Finally, lead by example. It's the most important thing you can do.Reggie Reyes is a certified kinesiologist and personal trainer. He is the president and founder of pt4kids, a company that creates specialized training programs for kids all ages and fitness levels.