If you’re in shape and an exercise person, then forgive my rant. But I cannot believe it when I see some of the current obesity statistics. According to the latest study, 1 in 3 children in the US is overweight or obese. And, this lovely problem that we’re having is costing us 9.3% of GDP or $1.7 Trillion dollars in direct and indirect expenses. It amazes me how people can live this way and then only when things get really bad do they ask for help. I want to shake some people and tell them to wake up, get off their phones, stop watching TV, stop playing video games, and get moving!
Two recent reports, one from the State of Obesity website and another from the Milken Institute both concur that being overweight or obese is a huge epidemic. The numbers are astounding. There are over 180 million people in the US who are overweight or obese. That’s 60% of our entire population! There are over 20 million people with obesity from ages 20-34. Another stunning statistic. This is supposed to be the time in our life when we’re fit, having fun, and just getting a handle on our lives.
If you read my last post, it was about how living a sedentary lifestyle is worse than smoking. These two reports are giving us a good sense of how big that problem actually is in our country.
Another, not so fun, fact. It blows my mind that there are only 11 of 50 states that require kids to move at least 90 minutes per week. The CDC and WHO recommended exercise guidelines are at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise and that’s for an adult. Kids have way more energy and should probably be running around a lot more than that. Possibly even worse than that, there are 32 states who have no minimum weekly requirements for physical education. I just don’t understand it. Children truly are the future of our country and we’re not taking care of them.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. There are some initiatives that have been and continue to be taken. For instance, according the State of Obesity report, “major food and beverage companies have removed 6.4 trillion calories from the market place between 2007 and 2012.” In the same report, “In 2018, menu labeling provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect, covering approximately 300,000 food retail establishments nationwide; FDA estimates this will save approximately $8 billion in health costs over the next two decades.” There are others, but at least we’re beginning to try to solve the problem.
In addition to the above initiatives, we have to change ourselves. We must live by example so those who are unable to make the right choices can see what living healthy looks like. Here are 3 simple ways to make a profound affect.
Limit unhealthy food intake.
I’m publishing this article on Halloween, the biggest candy consumption day in our country. But please, I beg you, limit your kid’s candy intake. All that sugar is just one of the culprits. Give the candy away and teach your kids about sharing and altruism. Teach them that if they’re going to have 1 candy that they need to burn off the calories. A 30 minute walk for every 150 calories.
Move, move, move! Move yourself, move with friends, move as a family! This doesn’t mean everyone has to lift weights or go to the gym. Do house chores together, go for a walk, a hike, take them to the beach, or a park. Get creative about increasing your movement. After 40+ years of moving around, I can tell you that I feel so much better when I’m fit, when I’m strong, when my body has done something that it was born to do.
Create an exercise lifestyle.
Limit TV time, video games, and other sedentary activities. When I was a kid, we came home from school and immediately went out to play with our friends. We ran around, explored the nearby woods, climbed trees, and had fun. Now it seems like fun is dropping your head into a video game or an iPhone then wasting the time away. As parents, we need to foster movement. Get the kids away from screens and into nature!
Whether it’s you, your kids, or your loved one, I’m here to help. If you need some advice on changing tides, I’m happy to tell you what I’ve done to keep myself healthy and fit for years to come. Just send me a message @teddymcdonald.com
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Originally published on the authors website.