We should all want to support the health of our kids. I’m saddened to see the growing numbers of overweight and obese young children in our community. Yet the truth is that children usually don’t just become unhealthy eaters. They tend to develop an appetite for whatever is set before them at the dinner table, or passed to them through the drive-through window. It is vital that we evaluate our current habits and then begin to retrain ourselves-and our kids-to have an appetite for healthy eating and physical fitness. Getting and staying fit doesn’t have to cost you any money. It’s all about making the choice to start moving and keep moving. Here in the Twin Cities, autumn is an ideal time to enjoy the great outdoors (The weather is cool, so please, no excuses about sweating out your hairdo!). So what are you waiting for? Let’s Move!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also teaming up with Lady Michelle to get us moving in the right direction. On the Let’s Move website (www.LetsMove.gov), you will find simple tools that can help parents and kids eat better, be more active, and get healthier. In addition, consider taking the President’s challenge by earning the Presidential Active Lifestyle award www.presidentschallenge.org.
You can even sign up as a family or team and work your way towards a consistently active lifestyle.
To put it bluntly, our society, in many ways, has adopted such an unhealthy lifestyle that we are facing a potential crisis. Unfortunately, our kids just may pay the highest price, with serious health issues at an early age and the potential for shortened life expectancy. The only effective way to address this challenge is by educating ourselves and rethinking our approach to nutrition and fitness; the two must go hand in hand. Keeping your child active in year-round sports is only one component. We must also begin to teach them how to make wise food selections: more fresh veggies, fruits, and much less fried and sugary foods. In addition, our children need to see their adult role models-parents, grandparents, and aunties, leading the way.
The First Lady’s fight against obesity includes making schools healthier in the lunchroom and through classroom instruction. If your school menu still consists of mostly fries and pizza for now, take matters into your own hands. Consider making a lunch for your child to take to school. For starters, make home-lunch once or twice a week, and experiment with fun and nutritious options until you find something the kiddos actually like and will eat. Even if you are not ready to try home-lunch right now, think about sending something healthy and fresh for snack time; bananas, apples, or oranges. In addition, a cheese stick or a handful of nuts can keep them alert and concentrating throughout the class day.
The next time you hear about a 5K in your area, make it a family affair, take your bf, or do both! Better yet, lace up your gym shoes and, even if it’s for only five minutes, get moving around your block! It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, but just do something.
Lastly, the next time Mary Hamilton and Serena Wright organize their Let’s Move Women and BF 5K Walk/Run, I’ll let you know so that you can meet me there. Enjoy!
Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at low costs. A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.