When Alli and I were growing up, healthy meals as a family at the dinner table happened every night. We sat around talking, playing odd little games we made up (who can ever forget the ‘eye game’ – a real gem!), getting caught up on the week’s events. We ate vegetables, lean meats, potatoes, salad and fish – and we weren’t allowed to leave the dinner table until we finished our meal. I can recall a few nights sitting for what seemed forever because I just didn’t want to finish my tuna.
And then there was sports – we were all heavily involved and supported by our parents in various sport and fitness initiatives. Soccer, hockey, kung fu, swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo, baseball. Our parents drove us around, watched our practices, chaperoned on trips. We worked out together as a family in our home, in the yard, at the track. We played outside in the summer and winter, with each other and the neighborhood kids. Physical activity was a way of life in our home.
It is a very different landscape for today’s children. Video games and television are the norm. Playing inside, dormant is the norm. Fast food, french fries, coke and sugar are the norm. And in Manitoba it’s getting worse. Manitoban children ages of 2 to 17 years old are more overweight and obese than Canadian children in general. In fact, 31% of Manitoban children are overweight or obese. In Manitoba, 59% of youth aged 12-19 years old are not active enough for optimal growth and development – 76% of Canadian children watch TV, read, or play computer games after school. Over the past 25 years, the overweight/obesity rate of youth aged 12-17 has more than doubled from 14% to 29%, and the obesity rate has tripled from 3% to 9%.
The physical complications are enormous. The psychological complications are enormous. As adults of the world it is our responsibility to raise happy, healthy, whole children. Eating healthy meals with them. Playing outside with them. Instilling a pride and passion for healthy living. It is not a matter of your child being able to run the fastest or do the most push ups. It is a matter of them being Healthy. Whole. Happy.
When Alli and I first began our work in Fit Communications we were very clear on our purpose – our goal for the province of Manitoba is to have a healthy, happy, engaged community. Full of health, wellness, sport and fitness, leading Manitobans to the lives of their dreams. We want to make people’s lives better, and one part of that betterment is through health and wellness. We hope that our work in the province on all levels can make this dream come true. Follow your passion with us!