Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jessica's Journey...December 10th

My list of things-to-do today are pretty big.  But...they are officially done.  The most important thing that I did today though was first thing this morning at 6am.

A few weeks ago a very small note was placed on the counter at the gym that I go to.  This tiny teeny note states that those with certain types of memberships can now bring their children if they have a note from a doctor that can be kept on file.  See, normally you don't see kids at our gym except when it is during times when the childcare is open.  There are 2 kids that do work with a trainer a few mornings a month when I am around but those are the only ones that I have ever seen working out at the gym.

I heard about this note and checked it out and was thrilled!

This morning at 6am I woke Sidney up, like we had planned, and we went to the gym.

Sidney, who is 10, loved it!  She has wanted to go with me for a really long time but I haven't been able to take her, except to the childcare area.  I know that kids need more exercise in this country and my own kids aren't that physically fit.  My kiddos aren't overweight but other than just playing outside and the very small amount of time that they get in school for gym, that is all the physical fitness that they get.

Parents, I know that you think it is hard to get time to exercise for yourself.  What about our kids?  If we don't make time to get to get in some exercise how are our kiddos supposed to learn that being healthy is important?

Want to know how much exercise your kids should have? According to here is what is recommended:

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Most of the 60 minutes should be either moderate- or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week. As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening activities, like climbing, at least 3 days a week and bone-strengthening activities, like jumping, at least 3 days a week. Children and adolescents are often active in short bursts of time rather than for sustained periods of time, and these short bursts can add up to meet physical activity needs. Physical activities for children and adolescents should be developmentally-appropriate, fun, and offer variety.

YOUNG CHILDREN (2-5 years)
There is not a specific recommendation for the number of minutes young children should be active each day. Children ages 2-5 years should play actively several times each day. Their activity may happen in short bursts of time and not be all at once. Physical activities for young children should be developmentally-appropriate, fun, and offer variety.

In case you were wondering, here is how much physical activity an adult is supposed to have according to

ADULTS (18 to 64 years)
Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level OR 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. Being active 5 or more hours each week can provide even more health benefits. Spreading aerobic activity out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, each activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time. Adults should also do strengthening activities, like push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, at least 2 days a week.

Maybe our world is just thinking that our kids are just fine...there isn't any need to get our kids to move more.  Let's just take them to McDonalds when they want. When they are cranky or do something great we can just reward them with treats.  Every holiday we need to continue to make sure that we have lots of candy for all of our precious little ones.  Give the kids what they want any time that they throw a fit just so they stop.  This is what our American world has come to.  This is our reality.  And the truth is that our kids need a healthy lifestyle just like adults.

I did a little research and found the following from The American Heart Association (the heart is a pretty important muscle so I'm thinking we might want to listen to them):

  1. Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. With good reason, childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.
  2. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression.
  3. Excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood. Perhaps one of the most sobering statements regarding the severity of the childhood obesity epidemic came from former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who characterized the threat as follows:
  4. “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents."

How do you prevent and treat overweight in children?
Reaching and maintaining an appropriate body weight is important. That's why recommendations that focus on small but permanent changes in eating may work better than a series of short-term changes that can't be sustained.
  • Reducing caloric intake is the easiest change. Highly restrictive diets that forbid favorite foods are likely to fail. They should be limited to rare patients with severe complications who must lose weight quickly.
  • Becoming more active is widely recommended. Increased physical activity is common in all studies of successful weight reduction. Create an environment that fosters physical activity.
  • Parents' involvement in modifying overweight children's behavior is important. Parents who model healthy eating and physical activity can positively influence their children's health.

The last thing I wanted to share was a link to some comments made from an article that Newsweek put out in 2000. Eleven years ago there was already awareness that the health of our kids was deteriorating. The article, "Fat for life?" touched the lives of many people. Click on this link to read what others said about their health, about their kids' lives, about the jobs that they have that impact kids and how our society needs to change to help our kids.

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