We have the highest teenage and childhood obesity rates today
than at any other point in the world’s long history. Much of the
blame for this is on the fast food, low energy society that we have become.
Far too often we feel that it is safer to keep our children inside our homes
rather than out and about in the great outdoors. The things we are doing for
the protection of our children are actually detrimental to the health of our children.
There are things however that are being done to address the problem and get our
children more involved, more active, and better educated about making the proper
choices about diet, nutrition, fitness, and overall health. The problem for most
teens is getting them off the computer, phone, or away from the television long
enough to get active.
Even video games are getting in on the act of getting children up and active by
creating games such as Play Station 2’s Dance Party Revolution and the new Nintendo Wii gaming
system that seem to be taking the market by storm. These systems allow consumers, to actively
participate in the game play adventure rather than sitting back and playing the game in a
static environment. It is a great way to get teens off their seats and active. These games are
also fun for adults and will have the same effects when it comes to activity. Whoever thought
we’d be actually encouraging game play for exercise?
Get Outside and Get Active
Teens learn by example and whether they care to admit it or not, they typically enjoy doing things
as part of the family. Go rock wall climbing or mountain climbing. Go bike riding as a family.
Camp in the great out doors and go hiking, boating, or biking yet again. Learn a new sport
together. It’s amazing how much fun you can have learning how scuba dive and while you
are at it, neither of you will be consuming empty calories. Even if the sport you take up
together doesn’t involve a lot of physical activity it is quite likely more active than sitting
in front of the television.
Have your teen join a recreational sports team. We have all kinds of sports teams available in
our community in which our teens can join. Even those with no skills at all can join and play in
some of the leagues while other leagues are competitive. Getting out and about for a softball
game, soccer game, and even volleyball can be a great way for the family to do something together
and the games and practices are opportunities for your teen to be active.
Lawn work is another way to get out and get active with your teen. The key, as always, is in your
teen burning more calories than he or she consumers. It is often easier said than done but it is
quite possible if you work to get them out and about. Find things however that will be interesting
to your teen and focus on those rather than torturing them with activities that hold no interest at
all (well maybe not the yard work). At any rate, filling their time with activities is also allowing
time that they aren’t consuming calories as well and that is something worth considering.
Encourage your teen to eat healthier foods. Eliminate calorie-loaded sods, fruit juices, and energy
drinks from your pantry shelves, and encourage your teens to drink plenty of water each day. Introduce
as many vegetables as possible to the diet of your teens and get rid of the prepackaged convenience goodies
that teens are notorious for depleting in one sitting. Also having your teens actively participate in
the preparation and clean up for meals will help them pay more attention to the things they put into their
mouths as well as the messes they make in the process.