Norman “Chubby” Chaney seemed amusing in the “Our Gang” comedies of the 1930s and ’40s as an overweight child (he was 3 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 113 pounds). In part, it was because there just weren’t many. Today nearly 18 percent of kids ages 6-11 are obese, as are 21 percent of those 12-19! Obesity is common and not funny, especially when it comes to children.
A lot of factors contribute to this epidemic (hormone disruptors in receipts and plastics, changes in your intestinal bacteria due to processed foods, the digital sit-and-stare-at-a-screen revolution, inner-city environments, high fructose corn syrup, sugary drinks). It can seem hard to keep your child from becoming overweight. But a recent study from Seattle Children’s Hospital might indicate a good place to start: in your preschool.
Researchers found that U.S. preschoolers get only around 48 minutes of active play a day, when they should be getting two hours or more. And this contributes to everything from being overweight to learning and behavior problems. But when preschoolers play actively indoors (remember duck-duck-goose?) or run around outside for even an hour a day, behavior and learning improve, and so does naptime.
So if your child is in day care:
-Set up excursions to local parks where kids can explore and play.
-Provide day care workers with activity-based CDs or videos that will get kids up and moving.
-And suggest using the Cleveland Clinic’s Food Is Knowledge program for pre-K to first grade.
© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.