The 5 on 5 Plan
One question commonly asked is why children are more overweight and obese compared to 20-30 years ago. This web page will hopefully address this issue. If you plan on using any information from this web site, please use the contact link above to contact Len Saunders to get his permission.
What does the 5 on 5 Plan mean? In simple terms, it explains the top ten ways to reduce the obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world. The first 5 changes are examples that fall within your control. If you are determined, you and your children have the ability to make the changes on your own. The second 5 examples are changes that are somewhat in your control. In some cases, you may need an outside source to assist you with these changes.
The 5 Changes Within Your Control
Watch The Liquid Intake
Did you realize that 1 in 5 calories consumed by children is from liquids? Reducing the sugary drinks children consume is a good start in fighting childhood obesity or being overweight. This alone is a good reason to have your children drink more water than other liquids. Children need to learn the importance of drinking water. Since 70% (or two-thirds) of your body is made up of water, it is always important to replenish your body with more water. Children should drink plenty of water as well as low fat milk and 100% all natural juices throughout the day.
The Bank Method
Do you think your children understand the immediate and long-term benefits of fitness when you tell them to exercise? Most young children are not interested or bored with exercise because they do not comprehend the reasoning behind all the exertion. To them, exercise is just 'work.' Let's face it, most children are fortunate because they are healthy and feel great....which is the best thing about being young. Their logic is "why do I need to exercise when I feel good?"
Introduce the 'bank method' to children when discussing exercise. You deposit money in a bank account to give you some security in the future. It sits in the bank and gets stronger as it collects interest and grows with each new deposit. Normally, you do not feel the benefits of these deposits right away because the money is not used. A confidence builds because you know the money saved may help you sometime in the future. Exercise is similar to the bank. If a child eats right, hydrates properly, gets plenty of sleep, and exercises daily, they may not see the benefits right away, but they will later in life. Each new health deposit through the years will pay its dividends in the future. This is how a bank and exercise are very similar, but teach the children the benefits of exercise.
Parents Acclimated To The New World
The parents of today cannot raise their children as their parents did 30 years ago. Many things have changed and there are new obstacles. Years ago, children were able to go outside and play on their own, walk to school on their own, and had only a handful of channels to choose from on the television. Most parents were not concerned about their children becoming obese, overweight, or sedentary. Move the clock ahead 30 years, and a major crisis is taking place. The bottom line, parents must become active in their children's exercise time by initiating ways for them to play daily.
Exercise As You Eat
This one is simple. Just as eating is part of a child's daily routine, make exercise part of the daily routine. A little exercise is better than no exercise. There is nothing wrong with breaking up the time spent with your child. Playing for 5 minutes early in the day, followed by another 10 minutes later in the day is a good start. Make time whenever you have it to exercise or play with your children.
Parent's Educate And Lead By Example
Parents are the key factor in reducing childhood obesity. Without the parent's support, it will be a lost cause. It is important that a parent constantly educate their child about leading a healthy lifestyle. Discussions should occur frequently on what the family can do to stay healthy, and what habits to stay away from. The parents will not be taken seriously unless they lead by example. You cannot tell your child to not smoke or drink if they see you do it!
The 5 Changes Somewhat In Your Control
Support Daily Quality PE
One problem that needs to be addressed more is the cuts in Physical Education throughout the world. Instead of daily, quality physical education taking place in the school, many programs are being cut or taught by non-certified staff. This should really be changed. Talk to your child's school board and discuss how more PE time needs to take place in your school district. Fight to keep your children healthy. Countless studies now prove that exercise in school stimulates the children's cognitive skills as well.
Support Your Recreation Department
As PE is cut, so are many recreation departments. Show support for your local rec department. Get your children active in these team sports that also assist with social skills. Call your local government officials and discuss ways of improving and funding your local recreation programs. You cannot do it alone, so recruit other neighbors with the same interests as yours to support town recreation.
Push For Government Support
Do not be afraid to contact your local government officials and express your displeasure with the amount of health programs available to your child. Let them know you want more PE and recreational activities.
Use Less Technology
One of the major challenges parents are facing today is the technology available to their children. What makes technology great is the fact it makes our lives easier and sometimes more exciting or fun. However, this technology is raising a generation of sedentary children who really enjoy all these cool gadgets. So, the question arises when it comes to children's health: Is technology or exercise winning the battle with the obesity epidemic facing the children of the world? Visit the 2:1 Club for more information on this topic by clicking here.
Parental Adjustments To The Environment
Is the world different than it was 20-30 years ago? Was it safer then than it is today? Is a person a “bad” parent for allowing their children to go outside and play unsupervised? Many parents say “yes” to these questions. But in the name of keeping our children safe, we cannot be content to let their health suffer. Parents need to make time to go out and play with their children.
Important LinksSaunders Home Page
Visit the Len Saunders home page to find some other creative programs geared to motivate children to exercise.PACES Day
PACES Day encourages families to exercise together on the weekends.Project ACES
Project ACES has been labeled by the media as "The World's Largest Exercise Class."2:1 Club
A program to help children reduce technology and increase exercise.Commercial-CIZING
A program that motivates children to exercise while watching TV commercials.Children's Fitness News
Get the latest information in the field of children's fitness.Fitness Books
Order books written by Len Saunders including Keeping Kids Fit, The Project ACES Handbook, Spunky The Monkey, and Joey The Kangaroo.The Tri-Fit-A-Thon
A program to help measure the growth of a child's exercise levels.The Country Challenge
A cultural fitness exchange between 2 countries.J Day
One continuous jumping jack for an entire day.The Video Olympics
A fitness competition between two schools or clubs.BAH
Teach children how to break a bad habit and avoid peer pressure.Fitness Pen Pals
A program which links cognitive skills with physical skills.Reach High
Teach children how to give their very best effort.Diabetes
Visit the DAC (Diabetes Awareness For Children) web page to educate children about diabetes. The page also discusses how obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes.Exercise US
A program where children exercise from coast to coast in the United States for 10 continuous hours.Drink Water
A web page dedicated to teaching families about the importance of drinking water.
Has The World Changed?
Have the changes in the world contributed to the childhood obesity issue? Here are a few examples to think about.
Not as many children walk to school.
Not as many children go outside to play because they need adult supervision.
There are too many TV channels glamorizing unhealthy food products to children.
Did you ever notice how big the cereal aisle is at your local grocery store with sugary products? That aisle has grown significantly over the last 20 years.
Does technology equal sedentary?
Has fast foods dominated meal time?
This list can go on and on.....