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Monday, 17 May 2010

I love seeing young families. This is my daughter, my son-in-law and my grandson. Beautiful family if I may say so myself. They are so in love and excellent parents to my grandson. I visited them this week-end so I could spend time with my adorable grandson. Unfortunately, they live 5 hours away and I don't get to see him often so I try to make every moment with him count. I decided to take him to a near-by park so that we could spend quality time together. The park is small and located in an affluent neighborhood. We were there for approximately an hour, and during that time period I witnessed one other family out with their child. Lets count, 2 children in the park.
It was a beautiful day, I wondered where the children were. There was a nice trail for the kids to ride bikes or take a walk as a family, so why weren't families in the park on such a beautiful day? It bothered me so much, when we went back to the house and I scoured the neighborhood. Not a child in sight. Why aren't our children riding bikes through the neighborhood or playing hopscotch? I remember playing hopscotch for hours on Saturdays after breakfast and using my roller skates. If we weren't playing either of those games, we walked around the neighborhood going nowhere in particular.
I spent Saturdays at the rollerskating rink with my daughter and for 12 years chauffeured her back and forth to ballet, tap and jazz lessons. I spent another 3 years watching her cheer our high school basket and football team on and running track. We moved on to college where she danced and her now husband played football. Not every child will be athletic, but we can teach them to move and monitor what they eat.
Two people came to mind while I was thinking about this problem this week-end. First Maury Povich. Why Maury? Not only does Maury determine Baby's Daddy, he brings to light the problems that obese children will endure and how we as parents contribute to that problem. I've watched Maury when he has featured children who are severely overweight. I'm not talking about 5 or 10 pounds, but 30, 40 and 50 pounds overweight and they were only 3, 4 or 5 years old. Can you image what they will encounter in school. These children were eating whole pizzas, 3 - 4 pieces of chicken, a dozen doughnuts or cupcakes, and drinking liters of soda. It was one of the saddest shows that I ever witnessed. They were literally feeding their child to death.
Second, I thought about Michelle Obama and the work she's doing on childhood obesity with the Lets Move campaign. Our children are obese because they are inside playing computer games or pasted to the sofa watching TV and over eating. It's a shame that we've allowed our children to become "couch potatoes" and we're not spending time together experiencing the great outdoors. I miss the sounds of children running and playing. I miss seeing moms sitting in the park mingling with other moms and watching their children play. I know times have changed, and we can't let our children run around the neighborhood unsupervised, but we can encourage our children to get outside and move and we can monitor what they eat. If we as parents aren't encouraging our children to move, how will they learn about exercise and being healthy.
We live in the land of good and plenty, and we are the most obese people in the world. I decided to join the Lets Move movement. Not only for my grandchild, but for myself as well. I want to join my daughter and son-in-law in setting an example for my grandson. They have joined a gym that offers babysitting service while they work out. They want to expose Xavier to healthy living early.
I've decided that I will make it a point to take walks with him when he visits and when I visit him. We will go to the park, ride bicycles, and play hop scotch in the driveway. I don't want my grandson to turn into a lump of fat or end up with high blood pressure and diabetics. Most importantly, I don't want my grandson to struggle with childhood weight issues.

What outdoor activities do you with your child? How do you feel about the childhood obesity problem that we have in our country? Have you joined the Lets Move campaign? Leave us a comment, we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


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