The Childhood Obesity Foundation tells me that 59% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese. Statistics Canada has published that for 2010, 26% of children fall into the same category.
Seriously? One out of four children are overweight or obese?
It is less surprising considering the circumstances. Those adults, over half of whom are struggling with weight themselves, are role models for their children. It's not too hard to follow that if you're being fed the same food that made your mom or dad heavy that you might be heavy too.
It's an epidemic. People are dying earlier than the previous generation due to their inability to manage their weight.
Our bodies aren't made for a world of plenty. We are meant to survive famines, to make it through the lean winters and plump up during summers of bounty. No one should be shocked that we can't manage endless food options and high calorie deliciousness!
What are we doing about it?
We are having a diet challenge! You can't change anyone but yourself. Such is the way of the world. But you can influence people through your actions. We are modeling for our friends and families that it can be done. And there is something to be said for peer pressure!
And, as a side effect, I am modeling for my children.
I have always felt strongly about doing rather than teaching. Let me tell you how much a seven year old cares about how many calories are in their food.... oh, wait.... I can't even find that amount if I examine it under a microscope, it's so small. I can talk about the health benefits of exercise until I am blue in the face, but it will never make them start to do push-ups or jumping jacks on their own. Nevergonnahappen.
I can serve them good portion sizes. And I can let them have cake and chips and cookies and junk sometimes. Because it's all about balance.
I exercise because I like it and because it's good for me. It's also something the boys know about grow-ups. They run. Mama runs, Daddy runs, Uncle Robert runs, Auntie Breanna runs, Naomi runs, Tyler runs, Grandma and Grandpa run.... everyone runs. It's just something people do. Like going to work and sleeping at night.
I've always wondered if my method of living out the life I'd like them to have, and modeling all the behaviours I'd like them to know would work. Will it make them into active adults? Will they like healthy food because it's what they're always eaten?
So far, so good.
(Pictures: Inaugural Father-Son run. 2km. March 11 2012)