As we all get a little bit older day by day, there are some unexpected health issues that can creep up on us fathers. Some…
It is a commonly held social belief that everyone should love their body. On the surface, this is a good thing because everyone is unique and, for some of us, our DNA makes it nearly impossible to sport those coveted washboard abs. We shouldn’t cave to the internal or social pressure of perfect looks. That said, there is a growing acceptance of any body type, even that of morbid obesity, which needs to be addressed and dealt with intelligently and with our health in mind.
Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater. BMI is defined as body weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Now that just sounds like a jumbled scientific equation. Essentially, it is a relationship between your height and weight, and correlates to the amount of bodyfat you have. In other words, obesity means you are carrying too much bodyfat for your height.
The facts don’t lie. Americans are getting fatter every year. Between 1999 and 2018 the obesity rate (BMI greater than 30) among adults rose from 30.5% to 42.4%. Additionally, another 25 percent are now considered generally overweight (BMI between 25-30). This means that about two-thirds of adults are walking around with quite a few extra pounds around their midsection.
Overeating, general laziness and inactivity are some obvious contributors to obesity. However, there can be other underlying issues as well. Depression, life changes, stress, relationship problems and a variety of other factors can affect how we take care of ourselves. These issues must be identified and dealt with in order to get ourselves on a healthier path. We don’t want to remain in an unhealthy lifestyle for long. Obesity can haunt you and keep you from enjoying life to the fullest.
Obesity can accelerate problems with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart issues, and even some cancers. If you wonder why health insurance premiums are going through the roof, you need only consider the frequent trips to the doctor and the hospital for those that are battling weight issues. Health problems increase exponentially for those who struggle with obesity. Our bodies are not meant to carry around that much extra weight.
Overeating and sedentary habits are wreaking havoc on our bodies, but the damage doesn’t stop there. Obesity can affect every part of your lifestyle, particularly your relationship with your family. Try running around the yard with your kids when you can barely climb out of bed in the morning. Young kids are active, and if your health is impeded, your kids will suffer for it as well. They want a dad who will play with them and be able to keep up with their activity level. They need a dad who takes care of his health so that he will be around to see them reach all of those major milestones in life. We need to take our health seriously, for ourselves and our kids.
The rising obesity rates are not only hitting the adult population. Children are becoming overweight and obese at an alarming rate. Back in the 1960s, a little less than ten percent of children were overweight or obese. Fast forward to the present day and we are looking at about one-third of all children carrying around some serious extra weight. Today nearly 14 million children are obese. As fathers, we need to take this very seriously.
Children that are overweight are more likely to become overweight as adults as well. This is not something that will magically vanish as they get older. They need a positive example and frequent opportunities to make positive decisions for their health.
We all love our kids, but we know there will be psychological problems that accompany their health issues as other children can be awfully cruel. While an adult may be able to handle any negative comments about their weight, children are less likely to be able to shrug them off. We can certainly help them deal with those situations, but we can also help prevent them by encouraging and modeling a healthy lifestyle.
You do not have to be a nutritionist with a fancy degree to determine why children are gaining so much extra weight. There are three very basic causes to their condition.
● They consume too many harmful calories on a daily basis.
● They lead a sedentary lifestyle that leaves them on the couch instead of outside playing.
● Their parents are promoting the same lifestyle themselves.
I have been a personal trainer on the side now for about 15 years and have worked with many children of virtually all ages. Most of their unhealthy habits have been learned from their parents. The sins of the parents are bestowed upon the children. This essentially means that children have developed their lifestyle and habit of overeating from duplicating what they are seeing from their parents on a daily basis over the years.
No father wants to see their children lead an unhealthy lifestyle. But to help your children conquer bad habits, you are probably going to have to change how you are doing things as well. It literally all starts at home and with the parents.
There has been a lot of talk about making school lunches healthier, but in reality, all meals have to be more nutritious. You can’t blame school lunches for your children being 30 pounds overweight. It doesn’t work that way. And if it did, who would you blame during the summer months when school is not in session?
As the father and the leader of your home, it is up to you to guide your family into becoming more healthy and fit. Healthy families are strong families. Here are some tips on how to change your family into a health-conscious group.
● Prepare healthy meals together and eat out less.
● Count calories with special attention paid to the all-important macros.
● Make Saturday morning bike rides part of your weekend routine.
● Workout with your kids inside and outside the house.
● During the summer, go swimming at least twice a week.
● Restrict the amount of time in front of electronic devices. If kids aren’t tethered to their phones, computers, or television, there is a better chance that they will be doing something active. This goes for the whole family!
● Encourage your children to try out various sports that they may be interested in.
● Have fun and go hiking every Sunday.
In this day and age, being overweight is often viewed as no big deal. However, it can certainly turn into a much bigger deal a few years down the road. As loving dads, we want to make sure our kids are healthy and happy. Encourage your children to lead a healthier lifestyle by modeling it for them. Your whole family will reap the benefits.