Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One of the reasons why we are so obese as a nation

This morning I walked my youngest son to school while he scootered on his scooter - pretending it was a segway. We live just under a half mile from the elementary school and because of the community we live in, there are sidewalks or paths that can safely get us there and a cross guard on the one street we need to cross that could be slightly dangerous (and I say slightly as it's not a very busy road).

We walk whenever the weather is passable and we have enough time (meaning he woke up early enough), so that means for this time of the year, we walk most of the time. In winter we rarely walk and that's mostly me. He would probably still like to walk.

Our walk there is beautiful no matter the time of year and since we can take several paths, it's never boring either. We can just pick a different route if we are tired with one.

Who could get tired of seeing this?

And this is the path I'm standing on while I snapped the above photo. I didn't take a step, just turned the camera:

Yet, of all the kids walking distance to school, I see 3-4 families walking and no one walks as far as we do and we don't live far!

Ok yes, many parents go directly from school drop off to work. I can understand that. I've been there and done that myself, but there are a lot of stay at home parents or work from home parents that I know who live walking distance and they drive. One family I know lives one block away and I've seen the stay at home mom drive the one block there and drive straight back home the one block. One block.

Childhood obesity is through the roof scary in statistics right now. Kids get driven to school. Sit in school all day with the shortest recesses ever, get driven home and 'maybe' have soccer or softball or swimming after school a few times a week for some parts of the year. I don't see many kids at playgrounds or playing in their yards. They are inside watching TV or playing on their computers. Just like their moms and dads.

What are we teaching our kids? And then there are studies showing how ADHD is increasing and they are linking it to kids being too inactive. Well, duh. Were kids ever made to sit still for so long? Where does that pent up energy go? Is our fear of our kids playing outside by themselves doing them more harm than good? What is a bigger risk? A kidnapping (very rare) or them dying young from heart disease or diabetes because of lifelong inactivity (not rare at all)?

And we've made it so difficult to be naturally active in this country. Where we live there is really no excuse. There are sidewalks and paths and everything is walking distance or bike distance - the schools (all of them - elementary, middle school, high school and even the community college), the library, the mall, and the grocery stores are all right there. But where we moved from? We couldn't walk anywhere safely as adults, let alone the kids. Plus, all schools were over two miles away. There was no choice but to drive. Much of America's burbs are like that - no sidewalks and no way to get from Point A to Point B in a direct manner. What do families do then? They have to drive!

Yet we wonder why we are getting so obese? It's right in front of our noses. We don't move enough and we are teaching our kids not to move either. If we just walked to school, rode our bikes to the pool and library and let our kids run around and play outside, they would be slimmer, more fit, happier and suffering less from ADHD.

Stats for 4/26/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 172.0


  1. I have to say I love living somewhere where I can walk! We certainly don't have the natural beauty that you see (love those pictures, btw) but I still enjoy looking at the stores and just getting moving. In the last 8 years or so we've always done all of our grocery shopping on foot and basically any errands. We actually only recently (As in a few months ago) got our first car but still only used to to get back and forth from work because we've become so accustomed to walking. Honestly, if the public transport was better we probably still wouldn't have a car. :D

  2. I would love to live close enough to walk my kids to school. Unfortunately we have a 15 minute drive.

  3. We're within walking distance to some restaurants and grocery stores so I try to walk there whenever I can and only carry a few things with me. I definitely invite my 11 y/o brother to come with me and he loves it. He enjoys walking!

    I think you are totally right about the seriousness of the situation. I also think a combination of processed foods and junk food is also a huge factor.

  4. When we moved to the house we picked, at first I was dismayed. We had JUST gone through a lot of remodeling with the house we were moving from. I was not looking forward to living through that again. We had a choice between two houses - one in a more walkable part of town that needed a lot of work. One that was move-in ready, but the neighborhood wasn't well connected at all. I was in love with the 'other' house. We called this one the "ugly house". But, one step out to the path behind our house to the lake and realizing it's proximity to everything sealed the deal. The house can be fixed. A location can not.