For years we have seen obesity increase in America. This is especially true with kids. Society has had many scape goats for this. But the truth is, that what we eat and our activity are the two easiest ways to affect obesity in our kids. Schools, feeling partially responsible have taken this issue on and have seen progress at reducing obesity. The latest information shows that schools are reasonably effective, and that most children gain weight during the summer months. Yes, thats right, kids put on weight during the summer. When I was a kid, summers were a time of running, swimming, loads of physical activity, sadly, that is not the case any more.
Paul T von Hippel, PhD, associate professor of public affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, in Austin says "look beyond the school year, we need to think about trying to change children's behavior when they are not in school," he urged. "We need to educate parents about nutrition, reduce child screen time, and regulate food marketing and advertising aimed at children".
Armed with this information, it is important that we analyze what our children are doing during the non school time, and how we can have a positive impact on reducing obesity. For many of us, working parents, it is difficult to make the time to keep our children off the screen and outside moving around. Paul Hippel said "My own experience with childhood obesity ended when I went to camp at age 8. Sending more children to summer camps or learning programs, for example, could potentially help lower rates of childhood obesity,"
As camp directors, we see this every summer, kids loose weight. How? It's simple. First, our cook, Michelle, makes meals that are home cooked, starting with raw ingredients and creating child friendly foods they will like. Next, at the table Counselors serve children, so they ensure that campers get a healthy mix of veggies along with their chicken for instance. A never ending salad bar is always available. As we all know, snacks are often the culprit. We only have apples as snacks and the campers love them. 2nd and probably most important is we have no screens at camp. Children's brains want to be engaged, so without a screen they have to get up and run, swim, play & socialize. Camp days are long - from 7:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. kids are busy all day longand this takes energy. Campers are not alone in this, everyone at camp looses weight during camp. For some it's a few pounds, for myself it's a healthy 10 lbs or so. So camp is part of my healthy lifestyle, maybe it could be part of your child's too.
Read more about summer obesity