As we should know by now, the guilt isn’t doing any good
At the beginning of the year, the social media community spoke out against an Israeli advertising campaign that targeted childhood obesity through “fat-shaming” billboards (eventually taken down after mass negative responses). Check em out here, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
TGMC is an organization committed to fighting the childhood obesity epidemic through our Fun Run fundraisers, and we feel inclined to respond to this issue. But, rather than shame the people doing the shaming (there’s plenty of that already on the internet) we want to go through 7 healthy alternatives to fat-shaming.
Empowering Through Education
Explain to your child that eating his greens and exercising daily is the kind of behavior that will make his body, mind and mood happier. We often take it for granted that kids don’t already know that some foods are bad and others are good, or the reason behind the labels of “good” and “bad.” Sometimes a simple, positive, explanation can go a long way in empowering kids to make those healthy decisions for themselves.
Check out Nourish Interactive for fun printouts on healthy food and habits to go over with your children or students.
Getting Kids Into the Kitchen
Work with your kids, students or young family members to come up with healthy meal ideas together, and then get those kids in the kitchen, making healthy mealtime exciting and something to bond over. By keeping kids separated from the process of buying, preparing or serving food, we make them more susceptible to the temptations of fast food and prepackaged snacks. Equipping your child with a respect for making food and an excitement over being in control of what they put on their plate is a positive way of instilling lasting change.
Making Exercise an Experience
Take our Fun Runs for example: kids are encouraged to run, walk and dance down the track with their friends to fun music, wearing bright colors and being supported by teachers and family. That’s exercise that a kid can get used to and an experience that they will remember and want to repeat.
If you’re a PTO member, parent or teacher and want to learn more about bringing Fun Runs to your school, contact us and we’ll make it happen.
Incentivizing Does Work
Incentives aren’t just for fundraisers (check out our article on the topic). Rather than threatening kids into healthy behavior, try to reward kids for eating healthy and exercising (recommended amount is an hour a day) by treating them to small gifts or family-sized experiences. Example: finishing those veggies without pouring a bucket of salt on them and playing outside for an hour could get your kids a movie night or time spent at Zap Zone (bonus exercise with that incentive!).
Leading by Example
Try enforcing a family diet, not just a kid’s diet. This will alleviate the feeling your kids might have of being an outcast or having done something punishable. Besides, if your young ones see you sipping on cola all day long, they will balk at being told they can only have milk or water at dinner.
What kinds of exercise do you like to do? Running, basketball, yoga? Get your kid involved! Take him or her on a jog around the neighborhood, teach the basics of basketball, or join a mommy-child yoga class.
Adding in the Fun
Yes, childhood obesity is a serious issue and should be treated as such, but there is no use in burdening children with all of the worrying statistics. Instead, get kids involved by turning it into a game!
Example: Write out your grocery list, making sure to leave in some unhealthy options. Do a game-show style quiz for your children or students and have them answer which items should be taken off the list depending on its substances: high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, etc. Children, by nature, like to play and adding in the fun to health and wellness will get them on board and the lessons they learn will stick with them as they grow up.
Setting Positive Goals
Instead of making the matter about losing weight, try making it about gaining muscle, confidence, stamina, the ability to eat peas without making gagging noises. You get the idea. Make goals with your kids and write them down. Display them somewhere in the house or classroom, check them off when they’re achieved and reward the accomplishments.