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A Little Good Exercise, a Lot of Bad Food - Overweight Still No Mystery

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A recent study in Great Britain found that exercise alone won't prevent childhood obesity. They concluded that changing unhealthy eating is needed too. The study has an important message, and, as one of my patients who works an engineer building spacecraft engines would say, "This isn't rocket science."

The children in the exercise group in the study didn't get as much exercise as recommended. They still received several health benefits of exercise plus important motor skills. They didn't lose weight because they were eating more calories than they burned.

More calories makes more weight. An easy way to improve weight and health at the same time is to stop eating junk. It is called junk for a reason. Don't give children soda or diet soda any more than you would give them cigarettes. People say, "You have to let them have a little fun," or, "If I don't let them have a little, they will want it more." Would you say the same about heroin? Antifreeze tastes sweet too but we teach children not to drink it because it is harmful. Talk to them. Teach them there is a better way. Set an example of exercising strength by putting away the cookies and shakes. Don't eat the 1000-calorie bag of chips. Do fun exercise with them like catch, skip rope, tumbling, and fun games you make yourself.

Remember that children can't wait to run away from the table to play, but are made to have the bad habit of sitting still and eating everything on their plate. Don't make them hold still when they can run. These common practices teach them to be sedentary overeaters who have too much pent up energy to concentrate in school or sleep at night. Let them jump and play after dinner instead of sitting in front of a television. Tell them how happy you are to be together. Sing and smile together while they help you around the house. That is fitness and health as a lifestyle.

Many people say they don't have money to eat healthful food, then spend the same money and more on junk food, supplements, "calming" drugs, and "energy" drinks. Put the money in a jar and exercise instead, and you can lose weight and feel calm plus feed the poor. Sports drinks with refined sugar and stimulant compounds are not healthy for everyday life or for exercise. Eat a banana instead. It is not more time consuming or difficult to steam or sauté in balsamic vinegar and spices instead of fry. You don't need to buy a steamer; use any pot. You can throw vegetables in the pot in the same time it takes you to heat a can of processed soup with too much salt, fillers, unhealthy fats, sweeteners, and little fibre or vitamins left after processing. Future posts will show how to make your own exercise drinks and bars, and how to have healthy exercise with kids (and elder parents). Fitness as a lifestyle means exercising your brain and sensibilities to live and move in happy, simple, uplifting ways for real health.

Related Fitness Fixer:

 

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Photo by Malingering, Creative Commons
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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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