In 1990, George Bush appointed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chairman of the President’s Council on physical Fitness and Sports, in an effort to “ raise the consciousness of all Americans on the importance of good health through physical fitness.”   The president went on to say, “The physical health of all Americans must have a stronger commitment than an annual New Year’s resolution. We now know that individuals can influence their health, fitness, and productive prime of life through the active pursuit of regular exercise programs.”  And from there, our national fitness standards were born.

But looking back 27 years later, how have our children’s physical fitness faired?  Everyone from the school nurse to child psychologists point out that our children are more obese and sedentary than in any decade past.  This message is far different from all the articles touting the benefits of multi-sport athletes or how our children are overscheduled versions of their busy parents. One thing that is consistent: Children adopt the habits they see in the home.

Even though this isn’t revolutionary news, or even news at all, our message is hopeful.

Take a look at some simple ways you can impact your children’s nutrition and fitness:

  • A Family Who Works Out Together, Stays together:  Instead of using the gym as “my time, ”  take your kids with you to work out or use that new Smart TV to show workouts on Youtube where everyone can participate
  • What’s Happening at PE?  In my experience, it was either loved or loathed by my classmates for a variety of reasons.  Does the class follow a strict diet of kickball or are there skills and competencies being completed and documented?  If you’re not sure, check in with your P.E. teacher to monitor the activity level of your child.
  • Teach Your Kids How to “Bag It”: Take them grocery shopping with you and have them pick out only foods for their lunchboxes,  Highlight the fruit and vegetable areas; read the backs of labels to help them decide what’s good and bad for them.
  • Teach Them to Cook:  But that might be a tall task if you’re a family that gets take out 5 days a week.  Start slow with simple healthy breakfast options like an egg white omelet, fruit and toast.  Eventually they may move up to preparing a healthy Meatless Monday Meal or slicing and dicing as a prep cook
  • What’s Going on In Your Neighborhood: You can barely logon to FaceBook without being invited to an area 5K Walk/Run.  If that’s not your thing, why not start a local bike club for kids or coach a soccer or swim team?

The point is that we stop and inventory our family health and take control. Your time maybe precious but so is your lifestyle.  Show your kids that you value their health – aside from athletic pursuits.  Show your kids that food is fuel – not just opportunities to indulge. Show your family they matter and make an appointment with Dr. Rob Fast at the Back Pain Clinic Belleville to learn more about health and nutrition.