We live in an age of a rising epidemic that threatens to shorten the lives of our children. To be clear – the definition of epidemic is: a rapid spread (of a disease) affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.

The epidemic affecting our children is called obesity. Obesity is truly an epidemic and we must all become involved – parents, educators and children – if we are to eradicate the spread of this dangerous epidemic.

Disappointingly, obesity is still on the rise. If current trends continue – our children will grow into the most obese generation of adults in US history. What will this mean for our children? The alarming rise in obesity has already shaved four to nine months off the average U.S. life span. Today’s younger generation will have shorter and less healthy lives than their parents for the first time in modern history. This means our children will not live as long as we do if drastic measures are not taken “now”. What good will it do to raise children that obtain a great education, achieve tremendous success and happiness, only to die young due to complications from lifestyle related diseases.

Are we as parents and educators unconcerned about the health of children? Our experience indicates the exact opposite – parents and educators are not only concerned – they are truly worried.

We have observed parents trying to implement healthy eating habits only to succumb to the pressures of a hectic lifestyle, family complaints, and exhaustion. After all, fast food is cheap, easy, and doesn’t require a “fight”. A universal saying we hear from parents is: “we have to pick our fights”. Fights that all parents appear to agree on include: homework, tooth brushing, personal hygiene, etc. But when it comes to food, parents just don’t have any “fight” left.

We have observed educators experiencing the same frustration. Teaching healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom can not be successful without parental involvement. Unlike teaching other subjects in school, without parental involvement in implementation of healthy eating and physical activity success will not be achieved.

On the surface, it appears that healthy eating and hectic lifestyle must be mutually exclusive. BUT TAKE HEART – parents can work with educators and get children to eat healthier even with their hectic lifestyle. Great news – it doesn’t have to be a fight at all. You can help your family make small, healthy lifestyle changes right now that will make large improvements in their health without having to fight. It’s true! It doesn’t have to be a fight at all.

For once, you don’t have to do all the work. BFFKids in conjunction with the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Initiative (NCOAI) has developed materials to make it easy.  How?  We are teaching children to become responsible for their own health – we are all responsible for our own health – no one can do it for us.

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