A good while ago, when I was a child, I’d go out the door on a dead run to play, I might, or might not, come home for lunch. But my mother never worried since we knew everybody in town, or where I played, and SOMEONE would feed the kids playing nearby their house. And I’d return for supper—on a dead run.
At school, there was recess, where we played active games, as well as physical education classes, on up into high school. That’s where I learned to play tennis and volleyball, among other games.
I ate because I had to, and it annoyed me because it took time away from playing.
And playing consisted of climbing trees, playing football, baseball, dodge ball, tag, hide and seek, etc.—all active games. In winter it was sledding, skating and throwing snowballs from behind the forts we made.
Now it’s a different world…..
People don’t always know their neighbors, so they have to be careful where their kids go to play. That is, if they’re even home to let the kids out to play. So many moms have to, or just choose to work. And their children are either latch-key children, who stay home alone, or they go to a day care center or after school program. And, unfortunately, the kids often sit in front of a TV—eating junk food, or they get fed snacks at the care facility, and sit. Then they learn to live to eat—instead of eating to live.
And living in town, in a good-sized city, limits play areas, unless you live near a park. Plus there are so many people you don’t know and can’t trust.
So the vast number of obese children is no surprise. And their obesity is leading to a lot of cases of type 2 diabetes that was once only an adult affliction.
But knowing why we have the problem isn’t solving it. The schools COULD help, by having active play recess as well as physical education. Speak up at the PTA meetings and demand activity for your children. Private schools sometimes are better to deal with, and sometimes not. Just be insistent.
If you both work, or you’re a single mom, make an effort to find good before and after school care. Most YMCA’s offer good programs that emphasize activities including swimming, basketball, kick ball, climbing and/or other good physical outlets.
And by all means, watch what they eat. Raw veggies and hummus (or guacamole) or fresh fruit is WAY better than potato chips, ice cream, pretzels, etc. And if they don’t like it, all the better!
Let’s get our children fit!