Offending now will save adults later

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 2, 2002

A survey has been released that says too many of our children are overweight and that we don’t know how to treat the condition.

National data says 14 percent of children ages 6 to 19 are very overweight and that percentage is nearly triple the rate that existed in the 1960s. While that information is of concern, what is shocking is that some pediatricians aren’t addressing the problem because they don’t want to offend the family.

The pediatricians probably don’t know what to say because they know much of the problem is at home. The parents are not providing good parenting as it relates to diet and exercise.

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To compound the problem, a good number of kids may not be severely overweight but do lack the strength and stamina expected of a youngster.

Following are a few solutions to the problem. These solutions may sound over-simplified, and the difficulty lies in carrying them out.

Parents need to unplug the video games and box them up until a certain physical fitness level is achieved. Ditto for the television.

Get the kids involved in organized sports. Don’t buy sugary foods. Take kids swimming and take them to the skating rink.

Demand that your school system provide quality physical education. Locally, some physical education programs were damaged by proration and children aren’t learning how to exercise or the importance of exercise.

Sound physical fitness starts at the home and is supported in the schools. Over the last year, many of our youngsters haven’t received that support in the schools. That needs to change.

Of all the challenges we face, this is one that can be fixed with a basic lifestyle change and some parents need to make those changes.