We have the highest teenage and childhood obesity rates today than at any other point in the world’s long history. Much of the blame for this is on the fast food, a low-energy society that we have become. Far too often we feel that it is safer to keep our children inside our homes rather than out and about in the great outdoors. The things we are doing for the protection of our children are actually detrimental to the health of our children.
There are things however that are being done to address the problem and get our children more involved, more active, and better educated about making the proper choices about diet, nutrition, fitness, and overall health. The problem for most teens is getting them off the computer, phone, or away from the television long enough to get active.
Even video games are getting in on the act of getting children up and active by creating games such as Play Station 2’s Dance Party Revolution and the new Nintendo Wii gaming system that seem to be taking the market by storm. These systems allow consumers, to actively participate in the gameplay adventure rather than sitting back and playing the game in a static environment. It is a great way to get teens off their seats and active. These games are also fun for adults and will have the same effects when it comes to activity. Whoever thought we’d be actually encouraging game play for exercise?
Get Outside and Get Active
Teens learn by example and whether they care to admit it or not, they typically enjoy doing things as part of the family. Go rock wall climbing or mountain climbing. Go bike riding as a family. Camp in the great outdoors and go hiking, boating, or biking yet again. Learn a new sport together. It’s amazing how much fun you can have learning how scuba dive and while you are at it, neither of you will be consuming empty calories. Even if the sport you take up together doesn’t involve a lot of physical activity it is quite likely more active than sitting in front of the television.
Have your teen join a recreational sports team. We have all kinds of sports teams available in our community which our teens can join. Even those with no skills at all can join and play in some of the leagues while other leagues are competitive. Getting out and about for a softball game, soccer game, and even volleyball can be a great way for the family to do something together and the games and practices are opportunities for your teen to be active.
Lawn work is another way to get out and get active with your teen. The key, as always, is for your teen to burn more calories than he or she consumes. It is often easier said than done but it is quite possible if you work to get them out and about. Find things however that will be interesting to your teen and focus on those rather than torturing them with activities that hold no interest at all (well maybe not the yard work). At any rate, filling their time with activities is also allowing time that they aren’t consuming calories as well and that is something worth considering.
Encourage your teen to eat healthier foods. Eliminate calorie-loaded sods, fruit juices, and energy drinks from your pantry shelves, and encourage your teens to drink plenty of water each day. Introduce as many vegetables as possible to the diet of your teens and get rid of the prepackaged convenience goodies that teens are notorious for depleting in one sitting. Also having your teens actively participate in the preparation and clean-up of meals will help them pay more attention to the things they put into their mouths as well as the messes they make in the process.