I have a personal story that I would like to share with you. I grew up as an overweight child and it was really rough. I was bullied, limited by weight to participate in school activities like cheerleading, and incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. I have a story, like many people do, but I’m not writing to you about me. Rather, my story is about the generation currently affected. Specifically my nephew.
My nephew is 10 years old, incredibly smart, a natural comic, talented, and an incredible little soul. Old patterns in my family have given him a legacy of being overweight. Like his family before him, he doesn’t have the nutrition education and fitness knowledge that will inspire and encourage him to be healthy. He’s like many kids in his community who don’t have real resources that talk about these issues in positive ways. Encouragement is hard to come by for an obese child. Activity can be daunting and there’s a lot of pressure to be fit. Being made fun of is always a fear.
We are all responsible in helping our children to be healthy. Movements like Partnership for a Healthier America and Move with Me to help end childhood obesity need our support. This is easier than you might think: click to vote and get our message heard in Washington D.C.
I’m worried that in two years time my nephew, who will be 12, could be diagnosed as a pre-diabetic or worse, diagnosed as a diabetic. You and I can make a difference now with our votes.
When weight holds you back as a child, it’s devastating…
My friend, Francesca, grew up as an overweight child and it was really rough. She was bullied, limited by weight to participate in school activities like cheerleading, and incredibly uncomfortable in her own skin. Now, her nephew, who is 10 years old, incredibly smart, a natural comic, talented, and an incredible little soul, like her family / his family, is also overweight. He doesn’t have the nutrition education and fitness knowledge that will inspire and encourage him to be healthy, nor do his parents value making changes to their eating and exercise habits. Francesca is a positive role model. She shares information and activities but, because she’s not in charge, she can only hope he makes the choice, as she did as a young adult, to change, though her family did not.
Her nephew’s story is like many kids in our community who don’t have the resources it takes to change their lifestyles. We all know and/or teach children who are over-weight or obese. Our heart breaks as we see them uncomfortable, struggling, embarrassed, and rejected. We worry that they could soon be diagnosed as a pre-diabetic or worse, diagnosed as a diabetic. When we calculate the long-term cost – to confidence, skill mastery, relationships, self-esteem, health, and quality of life, we cannot just turn away. We are all responsible in helping our children to be healthy.
I was moved to start producing movement story video classes as a way to help families use the TV and computer for affordable, fun, active play and instruction that kids can do anytime.Move with Me is my way of stepping forward and contributing a solution. And I am inspired by organizations such as,Let’s Move and Partnership for a Healthier America, for leading a direct conversation about weight, health and nutrition and supporting programs, awareness and education.
So, the question is: What can you do?
You can make a difference with your votes. When you click the link below and select VOTE, you are saying that you care about implementing more movement and mindfulness programs for children to get the daily 90-120 minutes of supervised active play they need for optimal weight and development. https://www.urgentblue.org/facebook/pha-innovation-challenge/video/details/submission-for-2012-11-15-152740
In your own classrooms and communities, you can also:
- Take it seriously. Do not be afraid to discuss health, weight, food, etc.
- Find a time and place to talk with parents, family or friends who are overweight or have overweight kids. Come from love. Give support. Have helpful suggestions
- Refer to statistics regarding the negative impact to help them see the big picture
- Be a role model – in your actions, food choices, lifestyle
- Introduce them to and include them in fun activities
- Movement stories & exercise videos
- Yoga & breathing
- Indoor play such as dancing to music, Wii Fit, twister, etc.
- Outdoor play – at the park, or on the sidewalk – hopscotch, jump rope, etc.
- Shopping, making and eating unprocessed foods, fresh fruits and veggies
- Create support and play groups, plan community healthy lifestyle activities. Together we can and must change these statistics!
- In the United States, 22% of pre-school children are overweight and 10% are obese.
- Children who were overweight as preschoolers are five times more likely than their peers to be overweight at age 12. Sedentary and/or overweight children are often overwhelmed by emotion, academics and social interaction. Some are even clinically depressed.
- There are many barriers to daily opportunities for active play at home and at school. Families and schools share budget limitations and environmental safety concerns (e.g. violence, drug sales) inclement weather, parent work schedules, time and curricular constraints, as well as inadequate knowledge or training about how to lead and integrate active play into children’s daily routine. http://www.letsmove.gov/sites/letsmove.gov/files/TFCO_Challenge_We_Face.pdf