Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Win at Losing (Part II)

Mother/Daughter 5K
On Sunday my daughter and I took a long walk in a local park.  It was refreshing to see many other families also enjoying the opportunity to be outside.  Making fitness fun is important. Signing your child up for a gym membership doesn’t work any better than putting them on a diet.  The mindset of lifestyle change clearly applies to physical activity.  I am writing this blog in Oklahoma, where 34% of children under the age of eighteen are overweight or obese.  There is a reason why we have to be intentional about targeting “move more” in the formula of healthy weight loss.  Many kids are hardly moving.


When I was growing up- we played outside.  I remember being called in for a dinner break and then the thrill of getting to rejoin my friends for more play time afterwards in the summer evenings because it was still light outside. It was a different time.  Our parents weren’t afraid we would be abducted, and we weren’t afraid we were “missing out” on electronics.  Actually there were no captivating electronics. In 2012 a healthy lifestyle is almost counter-cultural.

 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has very specific recommendations about developing a healthy weight for children.  Unfortunately, many parents don’t have access to this information because they don’t ask about their child’s BMI at doctor visits.  Seventy percent of parents of severely overweight children do not recognize that their child is overweight.  If parents don’t ask, physicians don’t tell.  Consider this a public health announcement- AAP encourages parents to:

1.      Limit screen time (Electronics) to 2 hours or less per day.

2.      Encourage one hour or more of daily physical activity.  This does not have to be consecutive.

3.      Develop a habit for children of eating breakfast.

4.      Regularly eat meals together as a family.

5.      Prepare meals mostly at home.  Limit take- out and fast food.

6.      Encourage children to eat 5 fruits and vegetables daily.

7.      Switch to low fat dairy products.

8.      Limit sugar sweetened drinks.

 Think variety when incorporating fitness into your healthy lifestyle with your child. Take a walk as a family, ride bikes. Go to the park and play, the bowling alley and bowl. Take a nature inspired vacation. Once you start thinking healthy movement you can be far more creative than anything a gym membership can provide for your family- and you will get better buy in!

Inspire others!  Please share your family's fun fitness ideas by commenting.


  1. Thank you for your public service announcement. I love the picture and how you both were in the 5K. That's such a good point to make. It's not only good health for your kids, but it's good practice for their parents. When I'm moving with my kids, I'm exercising. I may not have time for the gym, but I do have time to dance in the living room and run in the backyard.

  2. Good info - thanks. In some parts of the country, there is enough snow to get out and sled, tobogan, tube, and saucer down a hill. The kids have so much fun they don't register the uphill walk as "exercise" and the adults get a blast from the past!

  3. I really need to limit my non-writing screen time. Bad Sonia!

    Thanks for the reminders, Lisa. I saw doctor say on CBS This Morning that walking 30 minutes a day isn't only good for your weight and heart health -- it also might help stave off Alzheimers!

  4. I like how you pointed out that parents today are afraid to let their kids play outside. It's really sad, because most of that fear is unwarranted. Just because the streets are dangerous in Chicago doesn't mean that they are here in the Ville.
    And while I rant, schools need to get those kiddos up and moving during the day. Maybe if we put weight on the API scores then they'd quit shortening recess and PE.
    Okay, I feel better now after my rants. :)

    1. Thanks for the comment! Parenting out of fear is never a good plan, and "keeping the kids safe inside" fails to take into account internet dangers in addition to the health concerns of inactivity. As much as I disliked P.E. and stressed out as a kid over the "President's Challenge" (Do you remember this?) I have to admit, gulp, it was good for me. Hope we can make a difference for our kids!