According to Santa Clara County Officials, one in four kids in Santa Clara County are either overweight or obese, and one in three low-income children between ages two and five are overweight or obese. Nationally, childhood obesity has tripled since the 1970s. The result: 30% of boys and 40% of girls born in 2000 will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which can result in vision impairment leading to blindness, kidney failure and a host of other medical disasters, not to mention, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease. It’s time to pay attention to our children’s diet and get the whole family moving.
With the extraordinary weather we have had, it has been pretty easy to take the kids out and get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise. However, the temperatures are bound to drop and the rainy season will commence leaving us cooped up inside, so we need to find some physical fun indoors.
The Wii experience is now a staple in many homes, and Wii Fit is one way for everyone to get a workout. However, if you’re like me and have not yet invested in the Wii phenomena, there are many other, old school options.
DANCE – Pump up the volume and wiggle your hips. Young and old can strut their stuff on the living room floor while the rain comes falling down. Little kids love to “dance and freeze.” Even more fun may be bumping hips and backsides. Oh, come on, you remember the Bump and the Hustle! Show the kids how you used to tear up the rug back in the day. Have them teach you a few new wave steps.
YOGA – Parents are not the only ones busy and stressed. Kids need to decompress too. The whole family can derive enormous benefits from yoga. It enhances flexibility, strength and coordination and also produces a sense of calmness and relaxation.
In our highly competitive world, it is nice to engage in a physical activity that is not. There are a gazillion books and tapes available; just check out Amazon.com, or go to your local Barnes and Noble.
OBSTACLE COURSE – make an indoor obstacle course, crawling under and over a row of chairs, walking on a homemade balance board, or throwing beanbags into laundry baskets. Half the fun will be setting it up. Just make sure the kids stick around for the teardown.
GO OUTSIDE ANYWAY – If it’s only a sprinkle, gear up the kids, grab some chalk and do some original chalk paintings. Before your very eyes these seemingly innocuous drawings will metamorphose into classic Monet’s. Grab the camera. I promise they will be interesting, but not long lasting.
Let the kids jump in puddles, throw a wet, slippery ball and catch raindrops on their tongue, in their cupped hands, or in an upside down umbrella. After all, they’re kids! With a little imagination, everyone can enjoy staving off the weight and medical mishaps by playing and singing in, or out, of the rain.
Contact Margaret Lavin at firstname.lastname@example.org.