Did you know that a new study came out saying that 1/3 of the entire world is overweight? As scary as that is, that is a statistical fact in a new study released just last week. Even scarier? Prevalence for being either overweight or obese in the last 30 years jumped 27.5% for adults, and 47.1% for kids. Yes- you read that right. Forty-seven point one percent. As a mother, or a fitness fanatic, or both, that number should upset you as much as it upsets me. As a parent, in my mind it’s one thing to say that an adult has a chance to be overweight. It’s a completely different matter when that same chance not only falls to the child, but increases in severity.
As mothers, you are in a unique point of power and influence- in a good way. Your child views you as their hero, their friend, and their confidant. And, as such a position, I whole-heartedly feel that parents are in the prime position to teach and emulate health. Nutrition and fitness are the only preventive measures against poor health outcomes, in essence, food and being active is health. Everything else our society harps on is just pathophysiology slowing the onset of disease. However, a solid backbone in both general nutrition and exercise can slow and, in some cases, even prevent the progression towards disease. Luckily, as a parent, you have the direct influence over both nutrition AND fitness, getting your beautiful child/children onto the right path toward life-long health. Here are a few tips to not only get your children more active, but to get the whole family active as well.
1. Join a fun run. Not all fun runs are for those serious runners. Some, such as the color run and a few mud runs, focus more on fun and healthy exercise rather than winning and dominance. If you find a run that you’re interested in, contact them to see if they provide anything for family fun. And, if they don’t, advocate!
2. Have the neighbors join in. Why stop at just the family? Get your community involved! Get the Smiths next door to join in a friendly competition, a fun obstacle course, or even a three-legged race. Anything to get the neighborhood out and moving! Oh, and don’t forget, no cheating!
3. Get involved. There are a number of outdoor events that have a bit of physical exertion involved. Whether it be cleaning up a park, helping out a local church, or beautifying your city, there are many charities to get involved that will not only get you and your family sweating, but will also build character. That’s a double-whammy.
4. Get your swim on. It’s summer time! One of the easiest things to do is to get outside and get swimming, which is a great exercise to do due to its low impact on the body. Allow your children to have fun, but get them to swim some laps and get that heart rate up, too! Competition is always fun. To keep the health theme alive, also consider bringing healthier snacks, such as cut up fruit, to eat as a snack.
5. Join a sport. There are a number of leagues, camps, and sports that can involve the whole family. Now, I know frequently the child gets involved and the parents just watch, but let’s change that! Find a team that the whole family can be a part of. It can be anything- volleyball, basketball, even badminton! And don’t worry if you’re not the best. It’s about working out and spending time with your family, not winning.
Remember- #fitmoms make #fitfams. This is a hashtag I use quite frequently on social media, and I very much believe it. Parents have the power, so use it for good within your family!
About Petra Colindres MA, RDN/LD, IBCLC, CPT
CPT is owner of Nutrition by Petra, LLC and is a Family Dietitian and Lactation Consultant. She has a strong passion for family health, valuing the importance of the family unit to be the standard for future successful health outcomes. Petra owns Nutrition by Petra, a family-orientated medical nutrition therapy practice that works with mothers and children. She specializes in breastfeeding, pregnancy and early childhood nutrition, autism, picky eaters, and more! Petra’s hobbies are running/working out, teaching cooking classes around the state, and playing with her first child Bodie. Please visit her website for more information: www.nutritionbypetra.com. You can also follow Petra on Twitter @PetraNutrition, on Facebook or on instagram @nutritionbypetra to see some of her favorite baby meals.