Saturday, November 3, 2007

Family Fun and Fitness

I am probably giving away my age here, but I can remember a time when we all ate our dinner at the same time, we didn’t have 300 + television programs to choose from every day, children did not spend hours after school playing video games, sitting in front of computer screens, or talking on cell phones. When I came home from school, if weather permitted, I was expected to go outside to play. We would go to the playground, play ball, jump rope, and play running games.

Kids today are frequently stressed out by many of hours of homework and the pressure to take college level courses for advanced placement before they are intellectually ready. I have heard of children getting by on only a few hours of sleep each night because of excessive homework and skipping lunch in order to take on such a demanding curriculum. Frequently both parents are at work outside of the home, and there is no parent to see that the child engages in healthy outdoors activities during these afternoon hours.

Today’s children are more likely to be found playing video games, surfing the web, watching television or the VCR than engaging in sports and healthy recreation. As a result, we have seen a rise in both children and adults in such lifestyle disorders as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes—disorders that are preventable and even treatable by attention to both diet and exercise. A recent survey showed an increase in prescriptions in young people for high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol).

In a message from former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, M.D., for the Shape up America program, Dr. Koop states: “A survey conducted by Shape Up America has revealed that child care responsibilities are interfering with the efforts of many families to get more exercise and at the same time we know many children are now overweight or obese. The solution is a commitment on the part of the entire family to spend more time together. I encourage you to choose activities you can do together and support and reward each other’s efforts to be more active at home, at school, at work, and in your communities. I urge you to replace the use of food as a reward for good behavior and offer to take a walk with your child instead. The pleasure of your company is the best reward your child can receive and the best gift you can give.”

This is good advice indeed. In my next few postings, I will offer some suggestions for family fun, recreation, and fitness. Not only will your family be healthier and more fit, but these activities will help your children develop their self esteem and skill development. Since “the family that plays together stays together”, as an added bonus, these activities will also help foster good family relationships.

For some suggestions for family fun and fitness visit The Family Gamer.

2 comments: said...

Thanks for contributing this article to this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted at, the so-called me, on Monday, December 10, 2007! We have many other wonderful entries, so stop by and read a few!

Interested in hosting the Carnival? The schedule is posted at, Colloquium.

Helene said...

Thanks for leaving your comment. I will definitely stop by and read the Carnival of Family Life.