I'm sure my friend, Elijah, who has worked with me for nearly 32 years won't mind my sharing this story with you. When he was only about 12 years-old, Elijah already weighed close to 200 pounds. His sweet mother, Della, who I got to know very well, was always very concerned about his weight. One day, as she watched Elijah playing outside, she noticed how slow he was as he played with the neighborhood kids.
"Elijah, I'll bet I can even outrun you!"
"Elijah, come on, you can run faster than that. I'll bet I can even out run you," she shouted to him. Elijah was a little upset and decided to take his mother up on her challenge. Now, keep in mind, his mother would have been about 40 at the time but she accepted Elijah's challenge.
The two of them got on the starting line, Elijah's brother shouted "GO" and...they were off! The race lasted only about a block but, believe it or not, Della won the race! Yey, his mother won, much to Elijah's embarrassment, of course. You'd think that would have convinced him to do something about his weight way back them. But no, not when there were so many more cookies, candy and cakes out there for him to eat.
The point of my story is to tell you this: at a recent conference of the American Heart Association, overall, today's children can't keep up with their parents! A study of children around the United States concluded that today's kids don't run as fast or as far as their parents could when mom and dad were their age. On average, it takes today's children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than it took kids, (their future parents), to run the same distance 30 years ago. Any guesses why? Well, the answer shouldn't be all that surprising.
Today's children aren't nearly as active as they should be.
As I've discussed many times here in my daily messages, today's children aren't nearly as active as they should be. With their sedentary, push-button lifestyles, today's children are getting less exercise while they're getting more obese. And the changes are the same for boys and girls. Obesity in your children makes it harder for them to run, ride a bicycle, swim or do just about any form of aerobic exercise. On top of that, if your children remain obese, the situation gets worse as they get older, leading to medical issues in their adult lives. Now come on, all of you parents out there, I know you don't want that for your kids.
You know how hard I've been pushing to get physical education as part of the core curriculum back into our public schools. For "economic reasons," many schools don't offer physical education for their students at all. Some of those schools rely on recess to give students a chance to be active but it's gonna take more than that. And, when it comes to the "cost" of P.E. programs in schools, we should consider the health costs when those non-active students grow into obese adults.
Encourage your kids to get involved in outdoor activities that get their bodies moving.
Encourage your kids to get involved in outdoor activities that get their bodies moving. I know how concerned many of you are about your children's weight but, ask yourselves, what are you doing to encourage your kids to make physical activity a daily part of their lives? And, by the way, you can lead by example! Let your children see you working out, ask them to join you every now and then. The exercise habits your children develop while they are kids, can last them a lifetime and, at the same time, ensure they live a longer life, too!
By the way, Elijah's mother is in Heaven now. But she's up there smiling at hime. That's because, while she was still here on Earth, Della got to see her son lose nearly 300 pounds and he's kept it off for over 30 years now. Hey, Elijah...I'll race ya'!