Today we are lucky enough to have the amazing Brianna from Balanced Steps seizing the MizFit reigns for a day.
I asked her to speak about a subject we are *all* concerned about: childhood obesity.
No matter whether you have your own (and really what is this (fingerquote) own (unFQ) thing?! MizFit believes it takes a village to raise a Tornado!) or not—every one of use has a child or children in our lives whom we love.
What is your reaction to the following two words?
Maybe your reaction is like mine used to be: Ugh. Enough already. We’ve heard this over and over again. Is there anything NEW to report? I take care of my body, so the statistics don’t matter to me.
Maybe your reaction is more the way mine has developed through months of research and a more thorough understanding of the issue: This is a real problem. What can I do to help?
First, it is good to have the facts. That’s probably why my initial reaction was a bit on the whiny side. I was reading headlines and getting the 30 second run-down without actually getting to the meat of the issue. The problem isn’t that nameless and faceless numbers of people are overweight and thus have greater medical concerns than those who live in a healthy weight range, the problem is that the people who struggle with obesity and being overweight are REAL people, with REAL faces, and REAL struggles (mental, physical and social!) that go beyond surface appearance.
Here are a few concrete facts for your digestion:
– There are short-term and LONG-term psychological impacts from childhood obesity
– Obesity is a problem that reaches even the youngest members of our society (More than 10% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight)
Now that you know just a few facts (supported by sound research), you are ready to TAKE ACTION:
– Get your community schools involved (many are already making GREAT strides in this area, as much as possible with limited funding – don’t get me started with funding issues, as they are a problem ACROSS the board with education, but that’s a WHOLE other year’s worth of blogs)
– Get out and move YOUR body to set a positive example
– Encourage just ONE person to integrate just ONE new healthy choice into their lives – and then have them PASS IT ON. You know the “Pay it Forward” story – and I’m sure you’ve seen it in action. It WORKS!
And most importantly, we need to remember we are all delicate beings that do best with love and support. I wrote the bilingual picture book We Are Girls Who Love to Run (Somos Chicas y A Nosotras Nos Encanta Correr) because I am passionate about helping young girls find a physical activity that fits them. I wanted to do it with grace and respect for girls wherever they are CURRENTLY on their path. I want girls of all sizes and ages to see that running (no matter the speed!) as a welcoming sport that can be part of their life-long experiences. Fitness strengthens not just bodies, but minds and spirits, too. (MizFit note: AMEN, SISTER!)
Not a runner? I wasn’t either! Running and I found one another 5 years ago. I’m sure that if someone passionate about the sport had introduced me to it when I was younger (and explained to me how to breathe while doing it!), that I would have found it less intimidating. I may have even LIKED it! But since that didn’t happen for me, I’m reaching out to help it happen for this new generation of girls – the future leaders of our communities. I worked to make the book a source of inspiration for those who love the way running makes them feel and for those who haven’t yet given it a go.
Already bitten by the running bug? Pass your torch of inspiration to others! The following programs are out there to help our youth (and moms!) embrace healthy lifestyles, using running/athletics as the hook (but also talking up other forms of fitness!):
– Just Run
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a multitude of programs across the country and our beautiful planet. These are just ones I’ve researched thoroughly.
The good news is that there seems to be a plateau in the rates of obesity. But that doesn’t mean we can sit back and pass around a bag of chips. It means that we’re just starting to find the right track and that the work of groups like the ones I listed ARE having a positive impact. We just need to keep at it!
Sorry, People, MizFit couldnt resist and had to toss in a few thoughts that have been weighing (rimshot!) on her mind with regards to this very topic:
Have you see all the recent studies with regards to infants, sleep and obesity?
Researchers (after subtracting other variables as demographics, maternal characteristics, and birth weight) found infants who slept an average of less than 12 hours per day were almost twice as likely to be overweight by preschool.
While Im not certain I wholly buy into the study, I do know that when I dont get enough zzzz’s Im all kinds of snack-y the next day (to be more scientific about it: it messes with my appetite hormone)—–so perhaps they’re on to something.
I wanna leave you (I know, cue the cheers that this long
ASS post is drawing to a close.) with some numbers:
74 (percentage of kids who watch television before they are two)
43(percentage of kids under two who watch tv every day)
51(percentage of homes where the tv is on all or most of the time)
63(percentage of homes where tv is on during meals)
??(percentage of Bumbling Band members who are duly horrified at all this and shall chime in below)