The Health survey for England was published in December and I wanted to share some of the statistics with you.
*the survey covers 10,000 people living in England.
These statistics are quite shocking. So, what can we do to change?
Be a good role model
“Children with overweight parents are more likely to be overweight themselves”. Without even thinking children mimic their parents from birth, its how they learn the basic skills they need to survive. As they become more independent, they repeat what they have learned until they can make their own decisions, which are formed by the values they have learned. For example, a baby deer will follow its mother everywhere until its old enough to live independently, at which point it will use the skills it has learned from its mother to survive in the wild.
If our children witness us vegging on the sofa everyday surviving on a diet of pizza and crisps, they will grow up thinking this is okay. We need to make the right choices to be able to be a good role model.
Make good choices
We need to teach our children to make good choices. Teach them to choose fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet, to choose exercise over inactivity and to get more, good quality sleep. This will mean we need to break our own bad habits. For example, I know I am guilty or driving a lot more than I should, I can make the choice to walk a lot more often.
Encourage a balanced diet
Try not to label foods as “good” or “bad”. It’s important that children learn to choose the healthier options and understand the long-term health benefits. Keep to child size portions, teach children we do not need to overeat.
Less Screen Time
Screen time appears to be the biggest enemy of activity. For whatever the reason our children are spending more and more time attached to a screen. Whilst there are many benefits, there are damaging affects on social, physical and emotional development. We could teach children better ways to use their screen time, e.g.: find a recipe for a healthy home made snack to make with Grandma, research the world record for hopping and try to beat it or watch a video on YouTube of street dancing and give it a go.
We should encourage children to be active for a t least 60 minutes each day. It may sound like a lot, but it could be easy to do. Here are some suggestions:
If you can, walk to school instead of driving. If you already walk, you could speed it up: have a speed walking race or ride bicycles.
Visit the local park at least twice a week. With equipment designed to not only encourage children to get active but also build their core strength, the local park is a great place for some free exercise and fun!
Find your local woods and go for a nature adventure.
Whatever you choose to do, get involved too and follow it through.
When we design our projects for our clients we try to incorporate as much physical challenge as we can. We call this “play value”, but it essentially means what will children get out of this equipment. We try to engage the children in good fun, so they won’t even notice they’ve had a workout!