Fatherhood, Health, Nutrition, Parenting, Sports

Are Our Children Winning the Race to Obesity?

race to obesity

Dear Mr. Dad: Everyone knows about the crisis of overweight and obese kids. With the Winter Olympics just a few weeks away, I got to wondering whether so many kids being fat and out of shape will affect the United States’ ability to compete (not necessarily in these Olympics, but in the future). What do you think?

A: Your question reminded me of a study I read a few years ago that found that children in the US were 18% less “aerobically fit” than their parents were when they were the same age (worldwide, kids are 15% less fit, so we’re a bit worse than average). Put a little differently, today’s children take about 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids 30-40 years ago. That’s a big difference.

Thinking about that study reminded me of when I was nine years old and came home bragging to my parents and grandparents (who were over for dinner) about how I’d won a race and was one of the fastest kids in school. Grandpa, who was 72 at the time, wasn’t terribly impressed, and challenged me to a race. We went outside, and he beat me. Easily, and letting some of the air out of my inflated 5th grade ego.

I should say, my grandfather wasn’t a normal person. Throughout most of his life, he worked at one backbreaking job after another, did 100 pushups every day, and despite decades of twice-weekly trips to all-you-can-eat buffets where he had plate after plate of fried chicken and mac and cheese, he lived to 103.

 

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Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

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Author: Armin Brott

Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men’s health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook.com/mrdad, @mrdad, pinterest.com/mrdad, linkedin.com/in/mrdad, plus.google.com/+mrdad.

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