Need Motivation To Stay Active As A Family This Winter? Try Obesogens—And Some New Activities
January 8, 2023
There’s something cozy about the inwardness of winter weekends. The weather is eh. The kids are home from school. There are no early morning soccer games to trek to. It can be very tempting to curl up for hours and read. Or do a puzzle. Or have a family board game party—and snack on tasty things.
Resist the urge.
Well, do all of it, but keep it healthy and then get up and get out, too. It’s well established that the leading contributors to childhood obesity are poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Parents can and should take the lead as role model here—showing that eating well and working out are just part of daily life.
Staying active and snacking healthy are more important than ever. The obesity epidemic is now being increasingly linked to exposure to certain environmental chemicals. Referred to as “obesogens,” these chemicals and pollutants interfere with hormones and can actually program kids to be obese. They’re not the easiest substances to avoid completely. One such chemical is the ubiquitous BPA (bisphenol-A). It’s used to prevent corrosion in cans, in dental sealants, and even in receipt paper, among many other applications. A study by NYU School of Medicine scientists found significant association between BPA and obesity in children. Groups with the highest levels of BPA in their urine had a twofold chance of being obese.
To limit exposure to obesogens, families can reduce the use of plastics, and choose fresh or frozen foods instead of canned. Avoiding processed foods in general can minimize exposure to chemicals able to reprogram metabolism. Yet another solid reason to urge the kids to eat their fresh fruits and veggies.
Eating well and limiting obesogens are fairly straightforward. Staying active in the doldrums months can be trying. If you’re out of ideas, try some of the following. Many outdoor stores rent gear for the day—in kids’ sizes, too, so you don’t have to commit to buying a lot of equipment.
*Cross country ski
*Hike/walk—just bundle up before you go
*Shovel that snow!
*Sled (climbing back up that big hill counts)
If you don’t live in an area that gets cold or even rainy during the winter, you have no excuse! Get out and get moving.