Is Your Child Running On Empty…Or Running At All?


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At the turn of the New Year we always receive many requests from desperate parents wanting to successfully provide their children with better nutrition and learn ideas on how to get them to move more!  This is a real issue.

According to the CDC childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

At school children aren’t just exposed to the “lunch menu” but also the contents of their friends lunch boxes, which may include Doritos, hoagies, individually packaged Entenmann’s, manufactured food and worse. Although school lunch menus have improved, unless the child has been educated to make smart choices, they’re likely to select the pizza, burger or a fried delight.
I’ve personally witnessed kids screaming and jumping up and down at the end caps of grocery store isles showcasing yummy sugar laden treats. Dependent on the severity and volume of the incident, the parent may or may not be swayed.

So what is the “right” answer?

Nutritionally speaking, educating your children is essential, regardless of age. Explain how healthy and delicious food builds both physical and mental strength and speed. This provides them a greater incentive to comply.  Yes, sometimes you need to hide veggies in different meals.  And yes special treats are always allowed on occasion.  You’re the parent so you get to decide those parameters.  (Please email for our famous “Veggie Hacks for kids”. It’s miraculous!)

The key message is to lead by example. Your meals should look very similar to theirs.

Next, activity should be a family affair.  Growing up we were instructed to “go out and play”.  During that time we made ridiculous structures with branches and blankets, rode our bikes everywhere, went on adventures through empty lots of gravel and sand where we thought “Big Foot” lived because the foot prints were so large and we overall had a blast. As a matter of fact we were all in trouble from setting our watches back by 10 minutes in order to race home on our bikes to be “on time”.

This picture no longer exists for many reasons that could be an article of its own.

Today our communities provide many safe parks where both adults and children alike (and the family pet) can remain active and creative.  Remember jump ropes, hula hoops, antiquated obstacle courses and simple moves like jumping jacks, tag and hide and seek? Use these tools in their organic form, or if you prefer to brighten things up a bit purchase small orange cones and other eye appealing items the entire family will enjoy.  You’ll have a blast!  You’ll be surprised at how these activities get your heart racing as much as theirs.

Another option is making participation in a school sport a mandatory component of their curriculum. If they’re not particularly athletic experiment with other forms of activity like dance, karate, gymnastics or swimming.

Generally speaking for nutrition and activity families work best with some type of routine and consistency.  This can be easy! You got this,

Christine King is a Medical Exercise Specialist, Fitness Expert, and Founder & CEO of YourBestFit. The health and wellness company has helped thousands of clients recover from injuries, look and feel better and improve their overall well-being.