An Active Lifestyle for Our Children

by Helen Taylor
(Bendigo, Victoria, Australia)

GROWING HEALTHY BODIES

In the former U.S. Surgeon General’s report on American health, he outlined two basic factors not only contributing to our expanding waistlines, but to our children’s as well-the foods we eat and our inactivity.

We need to commit to improving not only our own health, but also the well-being of our children. Making Herbalife part of our daily schedules is time well spent on growing healthy bodies. While most adults need to obtain and maintain a healthy body, we also need to make sure we are managing our children’s healthy growth.

THE HARD FACTS

Some may say our children are already healthy and that they don’t need to worry about bulging bodies. But reports suggest just the opposite: Our children are fat, sedentary and eat the wrong foods. The prevalence of overweight children has nearly tripled in the pat three decades.

You may have children or you may not, but these findings reflect on the greater society we live in. During the past 100 years, we have lost control of our food sources and our lifestyles have become increasingly more sedentary.

COMPARING NOW Vs. THEN

Let’s examine how physically easy our lives have become.

When I was a child, we had to turn a knob on our television to change channels. Now, we have remote controls. This modern luxury has taken away the potential to get up and change the channel, burning up to 5 calories.

Our cars used to have roll-up windows which, when wound vigorously, could burn up to 2 calories.

We used to have manually operated garage doors but, no longer. Most of us now have remote-operated door openers.

These luxuries have taken away opportunities for us to use our muscles and burn calories throughout the day. Decreases in our physical demands have led to an increasingly overweight population.

Children today are growing up with these luxuries. Additionally, with television, video games and computers, children are much more inactive today than at any other time in history.

In the early 1960’s, children were active about 4-5 hours each day thanks to walking or riding bikes to school, recess, after school sports programs and playing. Today’s children are active less than 30 minutes a day. It’s no wonder our children are struggling to maintain healthy weights.

INACTIVITY = OBESITY

Inactivity combined with our food today is a lethal combination! These two factors contribute to an increasing percentage of obese children. Obesity is one of the major risk factors associated with many of our chronic diseases.

We may think that chronic disease is an effect of the aging process. But, never before have we seen such a large percentage of overweight children.

In fact 10 to 15 percent of children are seriously overweight. If this rate continues, we could start seeing a higher percentage of these chronic diseases affecting younger people.

HEALTHY EATING HABITS ARE ON THE DECLINE

So what about the food we eat today? We no longer grow our own foods, we rely on outside sources to provide them to us. Food is harvested green, then shipped long distances and stored for months. When it finally makes its way to the grocery stores, it is not as nutrient-rich as when it was first harvested.

Reports also point out that we are going out to eat more often than ever before. And when we go out to eat , we have a tendency to eat foods we would not normally eat at home, often loaded with extra calories.

It seems fast-food places have appeared on every corner of the planet! When I was a kid, fast-food restaurants existed, but we did not frequent nearly as much as we do today.

Today, on average, children eat fast food four times a week! The majority of fast foods are high in fat, high in salt, high in cholesterol, low in vitamins, low in minerals and low in fibre! This is exactly the opposite of what is recommended to grow healthy bodies.

REALITY CHECK

In an ideal world, children would not eat fast food at all. But with the media influences today, children get a warped view of what good nutrition is all about. They whine and beg to go to fast-food restaurants. They think it is a treat. They are happy when they get their kid’s meal, complete with toy.

I challenge all of us to change the concept of going to fast-food restaurants for our children. Don’t promise to take the kids out for fast food as a treat for doing their chores or getting good grades. Instead choose something more healthy.

PREPARING OUR KIDS FOR GOOD HEALTH

Let’s make an effort to nurture healthy lifestyles that will lead to healthy habits. As adult’s its up to us to work with our kids and help them enjoy activity and nutritious foods. Here are just a few ideas:

· Take walks with your children
· Enrol them in a sports program and take time to watch them when they compete.
· Play an active role in their lives

BECOME ACTIVE YOURSELF - LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Again, I know that most of us work and our time is limited, but we must be responsible for helping our children grow healthy bodies. And by setting good examples for your children, you will increase your health potential, too.

GETTING KIDS INVOLVED

As far as the food side of the equation is concerned, teach your children responsibility by letting them prepare one meal a week. That way, each child can create a meal, learn to read recipes and prepare the food. Even the very young can get involved in this way. Let small children stir.

Take your children to the grocery store with you and nurture interest by letting them pick a vegetable one week and meat/protein the next.

As the child grows, so does the responsibility. Around age six, start introducing nutrition information.

As the child’s reading abilities improve, help him or her understand food labels and balance the meal with a vegetable, protein source and a grain product.

With early involvement in meal planning and food content, children will grow up with a better understanding of how food not only pleases the taste buds, but also feeds the body.

Activity and nutritious foods play a big part in growing healthy bodies- a bigger part than most people realise – so we should try to focus on these essentials. I always say in Distributor training that we are not “Herbadiet”, we are HerbaLIFE! Herbalife is for the family. For Life!

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