As I sat in the Canadian water park we went to during Spring Break, amidst the humidity and crowds of screaming children, I became acutely aware of the epidemic that is childhood obesity.
I was sitting in that chair, watching children run back and forth through the tens of thousands of gallons of water that is dropped on them every hour, and I am seeing a common theme – overweight and obese children who can barely move up and down the stairs of the water park, while their healthier looking counterparts are running at full speed, jumping over each other and playing tag.
And it’s not just being simply overweight and lethargic, but there are an alarming number of young children with excessive belly fat. One child had a beer gut larger than most 40 year-0ld men. Now barring any sort of medical condition which may have caused it, there is NO excuse for that.
Now, if you don’t know anything about the side effects of excessive abdominal fat, let me give you a crash course. Abdominal obesity leads to:
- Increased rates of cardiovascular disease
- Increased rates of Alzheimers
- Increased rates of hypertension
- Increased rates of asthma (74% of asthma sufferers are overweight or obese)
- Increased rates of insulin resistance (key aspect of Type 2 Diabetes)
I am a fitness professional, so I am particularly aware of the dangers. Not everyone is and I know that. But looking at those kids made me feel sick, and not because of what they look like, but because I don’t want the kind of life for them that their obesity will undoubtedly bring. Yet, there was nothing I can do. There’s no good way to walk up to a person and talk to them about their child’s health. They’d probably punch me in the face. Hell, I would.
So I sat there, upset that there are children whose health was being put at risk, not knowing why? Who’s to blame? The parents? The media? The food industry? I have my own thoughts, but you tell me.
Question: What are your thoughts on the solution to childhood obesity?