Do you want to hear a statistic that’ll make you spit out your morning coffee (or evening wine)? Here it is: a startling 22 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 19 are obese. That doesn’t include the kids who are simply overweight. Children who are considered obese are overweight to the point where it may begin to impact their health.
If your child is among them, know that you’re not alone. Furthermore, the blame is widespread.
Here are a few reasons why kids are having such a hard time staying healthy in 2018.
1) Technology is Addicting:
How many times have you put off laundry to scroll through Facebook? I’ve lost count, too. But we do this because we get so wrapped up in social media that we lose all sense of time. Unfortunately, the same thing happens to our kids. They may have good intentions to go play outside, but they get wrapped up in a video game or social media and simply lose time. By the time they’re ready, it’s so late that they may as well just keep doing what they’re doing.
We can all relate. But as parents, we can teach our kids to have better control and willpower.
Try to limit your kids’ screen time to an hour or two every day.
2) Processed Foods are More Popular:
At this point, we were all raised in a time when processed foods were available. But if you think about it, there weren’t quite so many options then as there are now. And while we’re thinking, you probably go out to dinner more now than you did as a kid too.
The bottom line is that we’re not eating as well as we did when we were growing up. And when we were growing up, we didn’t eat as well as our parents did as kids. Our nation’s food supply is really going downhill. You may or may not feed your kids processed foods, but if you do, it’s time to cut back.
Try to cook more meals at home. Food prepping really helps save time, so consider shopping and meal prepping one day of the week.
3) Working-class kids aren’t Participating in Extracurriculars:
You hear about the kids today who are overextended with soccer practices, dance lessons and music recitals. And you think that kids in 2018 are much more active than kids 20 years ago. But here’s the thing: That’s only true for the middle class and above.
In the more impoverished neighborhoods, you’ll find that there often are not enough young people in programs to make a difference. In fact, participation rates in this demographic group have been declining since the 90s.
It makes sense. Working class families don’t have as much time to drive their kids around, and they certainly don’t have the extra money.
If your family falls into this group, consider some low-cost activities for the kids. Check out your town’s recreation center. There may be some free or low-cost groups that your child can join. It’s important to get the kids involved in activities other than school and “hanging-out”. With loads of spare time, it’s easier for kids and teens to fail victim to drug abuse and crime. It’s not only healthier for kids to be active, it’s actually safer, too!
Remember that weight isn’t always a good indicator of health. If your child is obese, there’s an obvious health issue to address. But if your child is inactive and eating lots of junk food, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. The habits your kids form now will help them become healthy adults, so stick to your guns and get your family on a healthy track.