Kids' Health Is All Talk, Not Enough Action

Filed under: Preschoolers, Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Development/Milestones: Babies, In The News

It is frustrating to read or hear the latest reports on kids' health in North America, since it doesn't actually seem to change. When I look back to the research even 20 years ago, kids were becoming overweight and it was recommended they eat healthier and exercise more often. Over the years these reports have been spun in many different ways. We've varied between one in three, to one in four kids being overweight and one in four, to one in five being obese. Now the popular term is characterizing our kids as "morbidly obese." The reports have also morphed into classifying our kids as the first generation to not outlive their parents or the first generation of kids to develop health issues -- such as heart disease and diabetes -- previously linked to adults.

The Bottom Line

No matter how you spin it, the bottom line is that our kids are unhealthy, becoming unhealthier, need to exercise at a high intensity on a daily basis and need to adopt healthy eating behaviours. Let's stop spending money and allocating resources on researching and reporting how unhealthy our kids are and start focusing on how to fix the problem. Anything else is lip service and a waste of time.

So, what action is currently being taken to protect our kids? Find out, after the jump...


What's In the Works?

In the U.S., First Lady Michelle Obama has been on a crusade to fight the childhood obesity epidemic. She's recently challenged politicians, governments and schools to show plans of action. She's also diverting more government funds towards programs that are designed to improve kids' health. She recently challenged major food manufacturers to dissect their entire operations in order to provide healthier foods for children. "We need you not to just tweak around the edges but entirely rethink the products you are offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children," she said. She went on to discuss the negative impact of school lunches, vending machine choices and the use of "buzz" words to entice unsuspecting kids and parents to purchase products that are not as healthy as they appear.

These are all great initiatives and couldn't come from a better platform. Let's keep our fingers crossed that companies and governments are held accountable to these recommendations, and that similar action is taken to protect Canadian children. In the meantime, we as parents need to continue taking matters into our own hands.

Final Thoughts

With all of the research reporting the same alarming statistics on childhood obesity for the past 20 or so years, it is clear that this epidemic is not going away. It will take a concerted effort from all levels of government, food manufacturers, media moguls, parents, schools -- and of course, kids -- to win the battle against childhood obesity.

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.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.