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Around Our Town...To Your Health

06/01/2005 - School's out and some children figure it's time to sleep in, become a couch potato and eat "whatever". And you know what? They will. Unfortunately, the guilty party is not the child but the parent.

Whether you are a working parent or not, you have to focus on keeping them active and eating right. Now, I don't mean that they shouldn't have an occasional pop or ice cream, or take in a movie, but not every day, or worse, 2-3 times a day.

We should be concerned that our country's youth are pathetically overweight and out of shape. The only conditioning they have is working the control of the playstation or the remote of the TV. In my practice, it astonishes me how inflexible young people are. When I was my children's age {Yes, I walked to school both ways (with shoes) in the rain, crossed a freeway (overpass) etc., etc.} it was rare that someone could not touch the top of their feet. Now, I think it's rare to find one that can!

Okay, what can you do? Let's start by not having your child stay up all hours. Try to keep some normalcy in sleep patterns so maybe they won't have trouble getting up if they need an early start. Occassionally, allow them to stay up late (an hour or so)

for special occasions. Yes, they may complain, but you know what, they'll survive.

How about TV? If you are a homemaker, limit them to no more than an hour a day. Make them go outside and do something. It is an established fact that the brain develops less if a child watches too much TV. If you are a working parent, take the TV out or cancel it. They don't need it. I'm sure DFS will not come knocking on the door telling you that your child has been denied their unalienable right to 10 hours of mindless activity per day.

Make physical activity a priority. Take them to the pool or park. Play catch regularly with your teenager, or shoot some hoops. (Yes, they will roll their eyes, and give a big sigh, but make them do it.) If you work out regularly and have a family pass (if not, get one) take them with you every time. Don't use the excuses "Well, he/she won't like it", or "It's going to slow me down", or "I have a work out partner already". Aren't they a priority? The time spent with them will mean more to you both.

And, lastly, the diet. Folks, quit buying the junk and having it around the house. Have plenty of healthy choices, such as (you guessed it) fruits and veggies around. Don't have pop or the sweet drinks around. Get them drinking water for healthy hydration. Use pop or ice cream as an incentive to WALK or BIKE with them down to the local convenience store for one. Yes, I know they will use that favorite line, "There is nothing good to eat in this house". They will probably tell you their friends won't come over because there is nothing good to eat at your house, (VIOLINS, PLEASE). Their social status will take a big hit. (NOW KLEENEX, PLEASE).

For your child's sake, don't let them develop poor habits that will affect their lives, habits that you can control.


Marc Delgadillo is a chiropractor practicing in Casper.

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