OUR VIEW: Give kids the gift of health

We say: Hopefully we can all develop healthy habits

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology wants children to move more and sit less, essentially, so they won’t become fat.

The group wants them to grow up healthy and this past week released what it says are the first guidelines for the ‘early years’. Not surprisingly, they call for less screen time – TV, laptops, iPods and smart phones.

No doubt kids today spend a lot of time staring a such screens – watching videos, playing games, browsing and texting. But many are also active – walking to and from school, playing sports, taking part in track and field, martial arts or dance. They ride bikes, run and skateboard.

Still, many are overweight.

The main reason isn’t so much screen time as what they put into their bodies: sugar and fat. And it’s not just pizza and pop, hamburgers, chips or cookies.

So-called sport drinks can contain as much sugar as a slushee. Specialty coffees and hot chocolate are loaded with calories.

We consume such products despite healthy eating programs devised and promoted by our provincial government, even though we know better. We do so out of convenience and because many items that aren’t healthy taste good. So have a little, not a lot – and not often. Buy more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Grow lettuce and berries in pots on your deck. Turn off the TV, the video game console, take away the iPods and cellphones. Cook and eat together, as a family, even if only once or twice a week. It’s a good habit to get into.

People are busy, but they can also be lazy. Start by setting a good example for your kids, and hopefully they’ll develop the healthy habits the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology so desires.

All it takes is will. Consider it a gift – their health.

– Black Press