Who knew!?!! Is it just me or does the media, when reporting on obesity and health issues, do nothing more than point out the bloody obvious? It’s been reported today that children who walk or run a mile a day are healthier than those who sit on their backsides; do we actually live in a world where people really don’t know that exercise is good for their kids? If the answer is yes, then is it any wonder that we have an obesity epidemic?
What’s worse is that the headline says “children who are made to walk a mile a day”; when I was a child I needed no encouragement to go roaring about all over the place – getting me to sit still was the problem. Was it the same for you? Didn’t you long to be out in the fresh air playing with your friends? Was being told to sit still and not move the cruelest of punishments?
What’s changed? Is it really the case that children would prefer to live in the virtual world rather than experience real life or is it that the parents are too afraid to let them outside in case something awful befalls them? Is it more simple than that? Is it that the parents don’t care if their kids are obese because they themselves eat unhealthily and live a sedentary lifestyle? If we have bad habits would we prefer that our children followed our example or do we realise that we make bad choices and would do anything to stop them making the same mistakes?
Maybe the answer is not to make kids exercise, but to encourage them? Perhaps we could take the time to explain why exercise is beneficial to their physical and mental well being. If we explained just the positive benefits of eating healthily and encouraged them to chart their personal progress in terms of energy and fitness levels, wouldn’t that be better than telling them – “this is good and this is bad”? We all learn from experience after all and those we have as children are the ones that will shape us as adults so, yes, the headline is right, exercise is good for children but why oh why do we need a newspaper to point this out?
I’ve never had children and I could be way off base here so I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this; if you’ve got a spare 5 minutes, please let me know what you think