In the age of smart phones, social media, and video games like Overwatch and Fortnight, children have more and more opportunities to stay home and remain inactive. Childhood obesity is an ever growing epidemic. In fact, the Center for Disease Control has found that the obesity rate in children has tripled since the 1970’s and that 20% of children are now considered obese.
Obesity can have very serious physical and emotional effects on a child. This can include an increase susceptibility to diabetes, asthma, and heart disease as children. These health issues can worsen into additional metabolic diseases, chronic ailments, and cancer as adults. Emotionally, obesity can result in children with low self-esteem or depression; and these children may experience some form of bullying from their peers.
Lead Your Children By Example
As parents, we must lead by example to fight obesity in our children. We serve a critical function in our children’s lives as their role models. In other words, if we consistently make unhealthy eating choices in front of our children, then that is all they will know and they will follow our example. Further, if we live sedentary lifestyles and spend most of our time sitting while looking at our devices, then our children will follow our lead. For your children’s sake, there are several proactive steps that you can take to create a healthy culture for your family.
Healthy Eating and Nutrition
It starts with healthy eating and healthy food choices. An increasing number of employers and health insurance companies offer wellness programs as a means of preventative care. These include webinars, reading materials, weight loss programs, and even life coaches that you can call or communicate with online. Insurance companies realize that by investing more in wellness up front, they end up with healthier policyholders and save money.
In addition, it doesn’t hurt to check with your primary care doctor or insurance company to see if they will cover a referral to a nutritionist or dietitian for educational purposes. This information can guide you toward better food choices for yourself, and what you feed your kids.
See a Doctor
On that note, regularly see a doctor, and bring your children to their annual physicals. While you may feel scared about getting potentially bad news after years of avoiding doctors, don’t do it for yourself. Instead, do it for your kids because they need you around. Further, your children’s pediatrician can help you understand your children’s health status and can explain any steps you may need to take to help improve their overall health.
Incorporate regular activity into your (and your children’s) routine. Ride your bikes more often, walk to restaurants, or even park further away than you normally do. We live in North Carolina! There are so many opportunities to be outdoors to enjoy walking, hiking, camping, and swimming. The greater Triangle area is booming with culture, parks, festivals, and family events. Look online and mindfully open yourself to new experiences.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
Your children mean the world to you. At New Direction Family Law, we understand and appreciate this. Therefore, we provide committed and focused legal advocacy and representation to parents seeking parenting plan agreements, custody orders, or a modification of existing orders. With years of experience and a reputation of excellence, we want to help us help you. We serve clients throughout Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit us online at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law