Take a look at your kids’ wish lists for the holidays…what percentage of the stuff they want is technology related? Video games? Tablets? Computer games? Chances are good that this year most of their list looks like that, instead of back in my childhood when we wanted mostly bikes, roller skates, bats and gloves, etc. There isn’t much problem here, right? I mean, they did do a study lately that says small amounts of video game playing can actually stimulate brain function. Well okay, fair enough.
Now, look at your kids’ meals and snacks. What are they eating? Chicken nuggets? Mac-n-cheese? French fries? CANDY?!? And what’s in their cup…soda, right? It’s caffeine-free, so it’s okay, eh? No!
Do you see the correlation I’m making here? When I was a kid a couple of decades ago, my friends and I went outside and played out on the school playground. We got there by riding our bikes. We stayed outside for hours, playing, running, getting fresh air. Sure, if a family had money, they mav have had an Atari or even the brand spankin’ new NES Nintendo Entertainment System. But none of us even thought to play those for more than 15 minutes. We WANTED to be outside.
And what was on our plates? Probably similar junk actually (though my mother always made sure some kind of dreaded vegetable was involved). But the point is, we were out burning off those chips and cookies.
Childhood obesity has gone up way too much lately. Here are some pretty startling facts according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Now consider this: The American Medical Association has officially declared obesity an actual disease. This is great, for the fact that it can be covered by insurance and helped medically through your doctor’s office.
But, what does this have to do with what I’ve been going on about, you ask? Well, with obesity being declared an actual disease, what happens when you let your kids sit around on their gadgets, eat those sweets, and gain that weight?
You may be held accountable for knowingly letting your child get sick… it’s child neglect! It may sound extreme, but it isn’t completely out there to think that you could have your child taken away from you in the future because of something as easily preventable as early-onset obesity. And the prevention can start out as simply as this: Give those little ones a bike… or a hula hoop… or even some bubbles to blow outside and get ‘em out that door and away from technology for a couple hours a day.