Friday, October 17, 2008

Childhood Obesity

Something happened at the girls doctor appt. the other day that caught me off guard. The nurse routinely asks a series of questions regarding development such as "can she scribble with a crayon?, Does she know the difference between boys and girls?", etc. Then one of her questions was "Is Tia involved in any sports activities?". I was a bit thrown by this question since Tia is only 3, but then said "Yeah, she takes dance class, does that count?". And the nurse gave a very positive response of "Yes! That's what we want to hear".
Later I noticed on the paper they gave us that shows their stats...height, weight, head measurement, they included Tia's BMI. BMI for a 3 year old?! Doesn't that seem absurd. They never discussed this number with us but since she is in the 50th percentile for both height and weight I am assuming her BMI number is normal too.
D.R. and I both laughed about this. Later, I realized these things are most likely a result of the childhood obesity epidemic in this country. That's really sad to me.
How times have changed.
Dance class for a 3 year old would be laughable when I was a kid. We also didn't have video games or cable television. We had our back yard, kick ball, hide and seek (outside), roller skates, jump ropes, and our friends. We spent as much time outside as possible, no matter what the weather. I can clearly remember coming in from playing in the snow, fingers frozen, and my mother having to soak them in the sink. I also have fond memories of running through puddles in the pouring rain.
This doctor appt. was definitely a wake up call for me. I was relieved and proud that we didn't have to discuss a weight issue. It also reinforced my belief that we need to get our kids away from the television and outside in the fresh air.
I sincerely hope our girls don't become overweight or even worse obese. However, even if they are chubby at some point, that's OK as long as they are active and understand the value of exercise. All the more reason for me to continue my daily exercise routine so they will have a visible, positive example.

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