Like the sign says, “Play to have Fun” kids! Just make sure to take frequent breaks so you don’t get too tuckered out from all that non-running. And leave yourself plenty of time for snacks:
And — hmm:
They may get diabetes, but they sure are safe from running and bouncing!
Interesting list they have there. Are we to understand that running and jumping are somehow equivalent to vandalism, which is legitimately an actual criminal act?
I would be the cause of having my kids kicked out on arrival. If I say a sign like that my first words would be,”Who is the effing idiot that thought this up?” And boom, out for bad language.
At least it doesn’t have age restrictions or “Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult”.
The “no running” rule always kills me. They should reply, “I’m not running, I’m galloping”, and imitate a horse trot. That’s how you play to have fun. Does anyone even read these signs? The ones limiting playgrounds to ages 6-10 are my personal favorite. Do you make your capable 4 year-old sit it out while her siblings get to play? All of these rules for PLAY and we wonder why they want to sit inside and stare at screens.
A couple blocks from my house in the small town where I used to live there was a small grandfathered farm property with a few cows and a delightful sign, the exact opposite of this one, which said something to the effect that local kids ARE allowed to play here in this field, but please don’t leave the gate open, tease the cows, or burn tires. (I love the implication that other fires are okay. . . ) Sadly, I never saw any kids playing there, but it was a nice thought.
I’m fine with “No bad language,” and “No vandalism,” but yeah, playgrounds are made for running and jumping. Maybe the sign just meant “No running and jumping on the equipment,” because it’s a sand playground, and the sand gets tracked onto the equipment and makes it slippery. I grew up with sand playgrounds, and there are still a few in my area, and it can be a legitimate problem. So, I hope that that’s all the sign means, and that running and jumping on the ground is still okay.
In reference to the obesity chart, I wonder why there was a spike in 2003 or so in young and elementary age children? Maybe a difference in the way obesity was measured? In the adolescent line, it’s a steady incline there, not a spike then down again.
Our children’s old elementary school had an even more ridiculous and long string of rules (that were actually enforced). There was three separate play structures, each for the different grades. Second graders and under weren’t even allowed on certain play structures because they were for the “big kids”. Kids could only swing in one direction on the swings, there was only a certain number of kids at one time on the walkway between playgrounds, and kids could only play on the playground for fifteen minutes before going in. Ridiculous! And that wasn’t even the half of it. While I could understand some of the rules were for real safety concerns, the majority of them just restricted kids’ rights on the playground. Sigh. I’m still waiting for the day when kids can be kids. Children themselves have become child proofed.
By the end of the year, a lot of the equipment was replaced to be made “safer” (the school claimed it was for parent and community concerns) and one of the favorites, the rock wall was replaced with teeter totters, much to the disappointment of the kids.
>>Kids could only swing in one direction on the swings<<
That's not even logical. Whichever direction a person is facing while swinging on a swing, he or she is going to swing back and forth, and take up the exact same amount of space either way. Unless that rule meant that you couldn't have one kid swinging sideways next to another kid swinging back and forth, that rule makes no sense.
These are the kinds of signs which come about when the lawyers and administrators are allowed to play without adult supervision. It’s a due diligence, CYA thing for the municipality, so that when some litigious idiot serves them because their kid fell down while running, they have a modicum of a defense.
They hate kids. They want a giant retirement community, walled and gated. No kids allowed. The park equipment is for decoration only.
I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I have stared a Meetup Group-for adults who want to do children’s games.
In speaking of exercise and obesity among children, please allow me to ventilate something here that is a real pet peeve of mine. First of all, much of the rise of obesity among children has to do with the cyber generation. Play Station, computers, video games, etc. BUT I honestly believe the helicopter crowd discourages kids from exercising and that really pisses me off! Boys in particular go thru that macho age between 11-14 where they want to have muscles to show off.. I know because I was once a boy myself who started lifting weights to improve my physique! So like their adult counterparts, they work out with weights and watch their diet so they can look good on the beach. Some parents who are fitness gurus actually encourage their kids to work out and will push them thru an exercise regime. Well in order for exercise to be exercise it has to be somewhat discomforting. If you want to get stronger and have more endurance you need to push yourself otherwise you will not see any results. This is true with kids as well as with adults. It’s how the human body works.
Well apparently this obvious fact is very upsetting to the bubble-wrapping crowd who do not want to see children in any discomfort whatsoever. I’ve seen this on youtube and in articles about certain kids who have achieved a high level of physical fitness. The people blogging below will call it “abuse” and for the kid’s parents to be investigated and put in jail and then they’ll ramble on that the kid’s growth will be stunted (which is a myth) and that the kid’s muscles will turn to jelly and that he’ll end up in a wheel chair by the time he’s 20, yada, yada, yada. NONE of which is remotely true. Then they’ll refer to a kid who is stronger and fitter than normal as “unhealthy” (I’d really like to understand the science behind that statement). Please bear in mind that the National Academy of Pediatrics has actually encouraged prepubescent kids to lift weights, as long as they’re taught correctly (high reps, low weight).
Perhaps people who make these crazy assertions are really jealous of these kids or maybe they feel that these kids are capable of beating up their kids so they feel threatened by them! Who knows…lol. But exercising should be a part of a person’s weekly regime and should be given the same emphasis as brushing your teeth, proper daily hygiene and getting good nutrition. So if kids want to get on an exercise regime, goodness, let’em!!!
I realize I got off on a tangent here but people who make the moronic statements I mentioned above I’m afraid will just scare kids off and discourage them from exercising! It’s the “everything is child abuse” mentality that’s prevalent in America society today.
” First of all, much of the rise of obesity among children has to do with the cyber generation. Play Station, computers, video games, etc.”
I’m not sure this is true. I think it has more to do with diet than lack of exercise (although both are certainly contributors, probably 1 and 2.)
I believe you could also overlay a graph showing increasing mood disorders in children that would show a similar trend. Depression and anxiety as well as issues like ADHD have increased as exercise has decreased. The reasons are complex, but I believe that a lack of exercise likely exacerbates the symptoms of these conditions.
@John–That’s true; there are ways for kids to get into strength training safely, if they wish to do so. However, I wouldn’t force it on a child who was otherwise active, but preferred to do other things.
As long as no one tries to climb up the slide while my toddler is trying to go down it I don’t care what goes on. This signage is really lame.
“The â€œno runningâ€ rule always kills me. They should reply, â€œIâ€™m not running, Iâ€™m gallopingâ€, and imitate a horse trot.”
I love this. That’s what I should have suggested when my kids were yelled at for running on a large, dry, open play structure with ramps and bridges (at a certain theme park featuring small plastic bricks). Somehow, I don’t think the rule-enforcer would have allowed galloping, though. She told me the reason for the strict no-running rule was that a kid might fall and skin a knee. When I suggested that wasn’t the end of the world, she said they might also run head-first into a wall rather than, you know, turning the corner.
This reminds me of the many, many, many times I have witnessed parents not letting their kids go up slides at the playground, as if there’s ever been a kid alive ever that didn’t climb up a slide. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who actually REMEMBERS being a kid.
“Iâ€™m not sure this is true. I think it has more to do with diet than lack of exercise (although both are certainly contributors, probably 1 and 2.)”
I have trouble blaming diet too much, when I think about how I and all the kids I knew ate in the early 1980s. Plenty of cheese on white bread, soda, potato chips, hot dogs, and packaged snack cakes, and lots of running around burning calories.
“I have trouble blaming diet too much, when I think about how I and all the kids I knew ate in the early 1980s.”
The early 80’s are part of the trend. Really, back into the 70’s… more packaged food, less freshly-prepared food… and the food conglomerates putting sugar into EVERYTHING so you’ll buy their brand of (whatever), instead of the other conglomerates’ brand of (whatever).
Actually, I trace the beginnings back to the introduction of the 7-11 “Big Gulp”. Previous to 7-11’s entry into the soda fountain market, for example, McDonald’s considered a 21-ounce soda cup to be a “large”. Today’s McDonald’s has a 44-ounce cup, AND features free refills.
Oh goodness… this is like the old “Super Happy Fun Ball” SNL skit.
I remember taking my young child to the playground in NY in the late 90s and noticing the frequent snack breaks kids would have. Moms had reams of crackers, cheerios, fruit drinks, etc in their bag to feed their children. And we’re talking about a 1-hour visit to the playground. I thought it was WEIRD. When I was a child we rarely ate between meals. Why does a short trip to the playground require frequent food breaks?
BL, our Kindergarten forbids “chasing games,” which would primarily be tag. This issue, as I understand it, is that kids might fall and hurt themselves being chased, and their lawyers are afraid of that.
@Rebecca January 28, 2016 at 1:48 pm #
Oh goodnessâ€¦ this is like the old â€œSuper Happy Fun Ballâ€ SNL skit.
Googled it. So Funny
The park signs where I live in Pasadena CA are reasonable: “This park was designed for ages 5-12. Please supervise your children.”
@Maggie in VA
“kids might fall and hurt themselves being chased, and their lawyers are afraid of that.”
Let’s chase some lawyers. Maybe they’ll fall and hurt themselves.
” This issue, as I understand it, is that kids might fall and hurt themselves being chased”
No, kids might fall and hurt someone else, and lawyers are just waiting for that, to make some money.
And then, there’s this little dude: http://www.ijreview.com/2016/01/509990-fit-kid-photos/?_ga=1.149239926.1356955430.1449160401
This is an older article, but so true about *safe* playgrounds:
“Safety guidelines, which are admittedly important, can defeat the very purpose of the playground: rather than promoting physical activity, they are dampening it.”
Yup. No running, no jumping, no bouncing…why not just put them in straight jackets (with elastic waistbands for their expanding girth) and start them on their diabetes and depression meds now?
It was on a trip to Germany where I was shocked beyond belief to find how “free” kids are (or free-ER) compared to here (the states). Not only do they have huge, awesome wooden play grounds, metal slides, and tons of rope to play on, but not once did I see a parent worrying about where their kid was climbing or if they would get hurt or not. No “careful Jimmy, you might fall!” Or “no going too high up!”
And as for the obesity epidemic, I do blame most of it on processed, crappy foods. The book Brining Up BÃ©be goes more in depth into how more American kids eat more sugary, processed foods than ever, and how parents often indulge them far too much, which ends up in the child being incredibly picky and only wanting to eat a “mono diet” of just white foods, breads, or pastas. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been over at a friend’s, and while the adults eat salads, the children eat chicken nuggets or fatty pizzas. It doesn’t help that most restaurant children’s menus offer kids fatty foods nowadays, like a hamburger or fries. Kids are conditioned to not eat healthy because of the food market. And I’m not saying this is all families (because there ARE families that grow their own food and do eat very healthy) but there is a definite epidemic of kids that have very unhealthy diets.
And yes, part of it is helicopter society. Kids don’t get out enough, and when they do, they’re restricted by adults. Running around is not only a great way to exercise, but it is an integral part of childhood. Who hasn’t played tag before? If kids can’t run around and jump in a playground setting, how are they supposed to be active at all?
And I do agree with John. A lot of it also has to do with the technology generation. Buy an 8 year old an iPhone, and of course she’d rather play Angry Birds (or whatever games kids play on phones these days) than be outside. We’re addicted to our screens. As I’m typing this, I could be outside walking (if there wasn’t so much snow on the ground). Also, I love how Michelle Obama is tagged in this. She definitely wants to get kids moving!
This play area use to be excellent but stopping children not being allowed to be children is the end of society and Rockhampton in Queensland, Australia where this is, is a town there only alcohol and violence top the adults list of hot things to do. I say this having lived there for eight years.
Am I the only one wondering why they call it a playground?
“Am I the only one wondering why they call it a playground?”
Same reason why what goes on in schools is called “education”?
“First of all, much of the rise of obesity among children has to do with the cyber generation.”
Even exercise experts agree that weight is 80% diet and only 20% exercise. Kids are not obese because they are playing too many video games. They are obese because they are eating too much junk.
Oh, John, I forgot to mention, I don’t think the trend towards protecting kids from discomfort, is limited to kids. I’m taking a break right now from teaching fitness classes at the YMCA, ostensibly because I’ve gotten involved in community theatre, but more because people would complain to the management about feeling “uncomfortable” in my classes, and the management would side with them. The “uncomfortable” feelings that people complained about came from things like me introducing a yoga class to a progression that was new to them (a Moon Salutation), giving that same yoga class the option to do an advanced pose (while also giving beginner and intermediate modifications), welcoming someone into adaptive fitness too enthusiastically (she apparently said I was “rude and overwhelming”), one person not liking one song on my Aquafit playlist (we already have a lot of rules for music; it has to be clean and in a certain BPM range), and a gaggle of others who didn’t like that I wanted them to actually participate in Aquafit instead of just floating in the deep end, and chatting with each other and with the lifeguard instead of following me. I also ran into another person downtown a while ago who said that she’d cancelled her YMCA membership, because she went to Aquafit once a week for about three or four months, and didn’t lose any weight. So, the YMCA gives people the unrealistic expectation that fitness should be 100% easy, happy, and comfortable, and then, when people experience a bit of normal disequilibrium, they blame whoever’s around, and then some of them cancel their memberships. I’m not heartless; I’ll help people through the difficult moments, but I can’t prevent them from happening.
No running, no jumping, no bouncing… oh my lord I am laughing so hard!!! This can’t be serious.
Yes but you can’t sue the city for diabetes. However you can if you twist an ankle
It’s unfortunate, but I actually hear that all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve observed parents with their kids saying “no running”–at a park. Are you kidding me? What else? “Enjoy the pool, but no getting wet.” Or “enjoy the baseball field, no balls and bats allowed.” “Yes I will enroll you in soccer, but no kicking.”
no bad language and no vandalism are reasonable enough things to have as rules in a kids plaground, the others are stupid!
By the way, this playground is in Australia.
This sign is from the UK. Now, these are people who know about rules to prevent any chance of injury (or fun)! You should see what the Scout Organisation did with their safety rules over the last decade or so. Kids must practically be delivered to activities wrapped in cotton wool. No danger, no matter how small, is allowed to exist. Risk averse to the extreme. Sir Robert Baden-Powell is likely spinning in his grave to see what’s become of his beloved movement.
My husband took our two-year-old daughter to the park this past year, as is common in fair weather. She clambers all over anything she can physically get on, and we’re proud of that. Apparently, some parents had brought a much older child and were panicking over him playing on this standard play structure.
In happier news, I took same toddler to the playground another time and had some parents gently chiding their kid over some activities, pointing out that “the little girl in the pigtails can do it!”
@Backroads–I don’t understand parents who take their kids to the park, and then try to stop them from playing on the equipment within the scope of their desires and abilities…..but then, I also don’t understand parents who insist upon escorting their kids to the park, if the park is within walking distance. I know, I know, times have changed, anything can happen, pedophiles lurking on the jungle gym in broad daylight, waiting to molest children in front of a playground full of witnesses. But, seriously, it’s like, one step forward, two steps back here. You take your child to the park for fresh air and exercise, and to explore his or her capabilities on the playground equipment……BUT, between the constant supervision, the overzealous park rules, and the fact that increasingly stringent safety standards have made the equipment boring for pretty much everyone past kindergarten age, there’s really not much exercise, or exploration, or challenge going on. I suppose there’s still fresh air, but you can get that anytime you step outdoors, which means you could get the same benefit by sitting under a tree playing Candy Crush.
The US needs a new type of regulation to get around the tight clamp of defending against lawsuits.
Currently, a playground prohibits things like running which might lead to an injury. Juries love to award penalties to injured little kids, paid for by the park department and the taxpayer. The park even has to enforce the rules, or the plaintiff’s lawyer will claim that the posted rule is only a sham to avoid responsibility.
The solution could be to give the warning even if it is only advice and not enforced. Yet, any liability arising from the “forbidden” activity would not pass onto the park. The park would remain liable for real negligence, such as having a swing fall apart. This would need some new statutes.
you all see the small print?… no one over 70kg… so basically after following the the first 5 rules you are now too fat to even use it!!!!
“The US needs a new type of regulation to get around the tight clamp of defending against lawsuits.”
The new type of regulation you describe is called “assumption of the risk”, and is not new at all.
“Even exercise experts agree that weight is 80% diet and only 20% exercise.”
It’s part of a sedentary lifestyle. What’s quicker and easier is often convenience foods that are everywhere. Combine that with busy schedules and parents and children who can’t or don’t cook and fast food, takeout, or eating food prepared and made by others (usually in larger portions) is more common than in previous generations.
Kids given access to food on demand (“I only eat Chicken Nuggets!”) and eat fattier, higher calorie meals and don’t burn these calories. Weight gain isn’t rocket science. Calories in, calories out. If you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. Kids who don’t have access to active play or sports (inner city, low income) are often the most at risk. Combine that with the food deserts in the urban landscape and families will often choose fast food because it’s cheaper and easier than cooking a home meal. There are no farmers markets in the ‘hood.
“There are no farmers markets in the â€˜hood.”
This depends mightily on which ‘hood you happen to be in at the time.
Besides, poor children get fed lunch and, increasingly, breakfast, in the schools.
“Even exercise experts agree that weight is 80% diet and only 20% exercise.”
I know this is true at my current age (about 40), but I would question whether it’s true for a healthy, active child. Small children who play freely are naturally extremely active compared to any exercise adults normally do. I see my 4-year-old do things all the time, just for fun, that require a core strength I can only envy, and I don’t really think I could get any amount of food into him that would make him fat, at his current level of activity.
I have to point out that this sign is obviously British, while the obesity stats are American. I understand and agree with your point, however.
This is why when I have to bite my tongue when American friends back home are like, “Oh, you live in Europe! Everyone is so much healthier there!”
Play Station, computers, video games, etc. = lack of exercise.
That 20% over the course of 7 or 8 years can add up to a lot of excessive pounds.
Of course I wouldn’t FORCE strength training onto my child if he wasn’t into it but neither would I FORCE piano lessons on him if he absolutely did not want to take them.
Also, the people in your class have got to understand that exercise should not be easy but difficult if they expect to make any progress from it. But I think you’re knowledgeable enough to educate them on the basics of it You know, people always assumed that the late and great Jack Lalane loved to exercise but in reality he actually hated it! He would say that the day he starts enjoying exercise is the day that he’s completely wasting his time doing it. You will get out of exercise what you put into it. Plane and simple. Good luck with your class!
“Play Station, computers, video games, etc. = lack of exercise.”
My mom bought a Wii, as part of her exercise program.
I’ve had videogame systems since 1976, starting with Pong and continuing through the Atari age, into the Nintendo age. For a little over two years between 1989 and 1991, I made my living playing videogames. I also walked to and from work. Oh, yeah, and I was still on inactive military reserve at the time.
I think you need to expand your horizons. Because “video games = lack of exercise” is nonsense.
@John–I don’t think it’s that black and white; I try to make my classes fun, but people can’t expect that it’ll always be easy, they can’t expect a group fitness class to be tailored to their individual preferences, and of course, it won’t work if they don’t participate. But, the YMCA seems to be more concerned with keeping people happy than with helping them get healthy. From their point of view, it makes sense–the YMCA is a non-profit organization, so, they’re not making a profit (duh), so they need the money from membership sales to stay afloat, and if people get their feathers ruffled and cancel their memberships, they lose money, which would otherwise go to subsidizing memberships for low-income families, summer camp for underprivileged children, and so on, and so forth. So, the result of following the almighty dollar (albeit for at least somewhat altruistic reasons) is people who come to the YMCA regularly for years and years, without really getting any fitter, and a LOT of volunteer turnover.
Here’s the solution.
Part of the problem is diet. The fact that every few months new experts appear and now what was good is now bad. And you know that many people always jump on what’s new.
Not only that, but you have the government telling and dictating what you should eat.
You want to see how important diet is, talk to some of the college football players. A lot of them are on a min. calorie intake diet, to maintain their size and strength. For the most part it is balanced with the exception of certain carbs at certain times, just for their energy value.
Balance is the key.
The Chief Executive Officer is safe from lawsuits, which is probably his primary concern.
Sigh. We used to take a routine road trip that included a stop in Baker City, OR to eat lunch and let the kids get exercise. Until two years ago, their downtown park was THE place to create some kick-ass childhood memories.
They have since removed the giant, wooden, squeal-of-delight-inducing merry-go-round due to, you guessed it, “safety concerns.” I guess this small town finally got with the 21st century and succumbed to the trend of local officials helicopter parenting their citizenry. Oh, and I believe that the teeter-totters are gone. I get it if 50-year-old equipment is about to collapse under kids. But the new and safer stuff is pretty lame.
Fortunately, the metal slide and big bubble jungle gym both still stand.
One day, in my “infinite” spare time, I’d like to create an online directory to which parents could submit the nation’s best free-range parks. Criteria would include the old merry-go-rounds and steep metal slides.
The merry-go-rounds of my childhood were metal, but they worked the same way–big platform, hold onto the handle and run to get momentum going, then jump on, and when you want to stop, drag your foot in the sand, or just wait for it to stop. I don’t remember a lot of kids (or even any kids, really) getting hurt on playground merry-go-rounds–they were considered to be much safer than swings, slides, and monkey bars, and definitely safer than the Twirlybird (Maypole-like device with a flywheel on top, and a chain and a handle hanging down, so the rider can grab the handle, run in a circle, lift their feet, and “fly” for a few seconds, being sure to put those feet down quickly in order to avoid a banged head from the metal pole). Anyway, I simply don’t think it’s possible to invent any piece of playground equipment, or any worthwhile play activity, that’s completely safe and risk-free. I’m not saying we should be completely stupid about this, and bring back blatantly dangerous toys like Jarts, Moon Shoes, and Barbie dolls with Rollerblades that shoot sparks, but at a certain point, it should be okay to say “the play value of this toy/activity/piece of playground equipment is worth the risk.”
“That 20% over the course of 7 or 8 years can add up to a lot of excessive pounds.”
The ONLY way to be overweight is by consuming more calories than you burn. What you do during the day only contributes to the process by impacting how many calories you burn. A gamer who consumes only the calories that he burns will not be overweight. An active person who consumes more calories than he burns will be overweight. I know plenty of kids who do nothing except play video games who are extremely skinny and plenty of kids who are not allowed play video games who could stand to lose a few.
Gamers who eat crap are definitely going to weigh more than active people who eat crap, but both will be overweight. Diet is the big problem, not video games. Video games are no less calorie burning than TV, something we all did in copious amounts in the 70s. Kids simply can’t run off the oversized portions, constant snacking and junk that they eat on the playground.
>>â€œThere are no farmers markets in the â€˜hood.â€
This depends mightily on which â€˜hood you happen to be in at the time.
Besides, poor children get fed lunch and, increasingly, breakfast, in the schools.<<
@James–Just because the schools are feeding kids, doesn't necessarily mean that they're feeding them good food:
“Just because the schools are feeding kids, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re feeding them good food: ”
And just because the kids are being offered healthy foods, doesn’t mean they’ll eat them.
Are you in favor of giving them choices, even if they choose badly, or of choosing for them?
Warren, I’m in favour of giving kids choices. I’m Canadian, so we didn’t have cafeterias in elementary school (we’d bring packed lunches, or go home for lunch), but my high school had a cafeteria. Some of the foods available there were healthy, and some were junky, but the school didn’t think it was any of their business what we ate. I know it sounds callous, but high school students are around 14-18 years old, which is close to or at adult age. There was a free breakfast program (but it was limited to healthy breakfast foods–I think just cereal, toast or bagels (with peanut butter, jam, cream cheese, etc.), fruit, milk, juice, and maybe coffee. For lunch, you could get cafeteria vouchers from the school office (to be used on anything), but since there was a social stigma attached to being seen paying with vouchers instead of money, nobody took the school up on that unless they were really desperate. Yes, this meant that some people ate bad food–like cookies for breakfast (since the cafeteria ladies baked them first thing in the morning), or oatmeal chocolate chip bars that were basically giant cookies masquerading as a healthy snack (also baked first thing in the morning), or like, a big thing of fries and a slushy for lunch, but even if the cafeteria and the school vending machines were all healthy food, the school was (and is) situated downtown, close to several fast-food restaurants and a few convenience stores, and it’s open campus during lunch and spares.
I’ve since been back there to visit, and now the pop machines are all diet drinks (before, it was all sugary drinks except for Diet Coke and water), the vending machines are all baked potato chips and Fruit-To-Go and other “healthy” packaged snacks, and I think the cafeteria has gone in a similar direction. As a result, the kids just go elsewhere when they want junk food. If it was a closed campus, the kids could still forgo the healthy food at school if they didn’t like it, and binge on junk food afterwards. The school also has two gyms, a weights room, and both competitive and recreational sports activities on offer, and that hasn’t changed since I was there, and it’s also within walking distance of the YMCA. So, my point here is, I think this is a case of “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” I feel like, increasingly, that reality isn’t acceptable these days, so the powers-that-be beat their heads against the wall trying to get around that.
P.S., I wrote “Warren,” but I meant “James.” Lenore, could you please fix that?
Rockhampton is, as Earth Waratah pointed out, in Australia, (Queensland ) not Europe or the UK. That being the case, I agree with the No Running rule, as only someone soft in the head would attempt to run in Queensland’s ridiculous summer temperatures…and the No Jumping rule is probably from the influx of Asian immigrants into Australia over the past couple of decades. Surely you’re all familiar with the fact that if the Chinese jumped at the same time, they would knock the Earth off its orbit? We can’t fault Rockhampton Council for attempting to prevent this potential tragedy. …
“I donâ€™t really think I could get any amount of food into him that would make him fat, at his current level of activity.”
Sure, you could. If you fed your preschooler adult-sized portions and junk. I regularly see preschoolers in juvenile court scarfing down chips and soda. Their snack has more calories in it than a kid that size should eat all day and I assume that is not the only food the child will consume that day. These kids diets consist of donuts for breakfast, ramen noodles for lunch, chips for snack and Popeye’s fried chicken and biscuits for dinner. All topped off with coke. I don’t know if you could work off all that running a marathon.
You also have to remember that (a) even small children have different activity levels and (b) eating lots of crap affects your activity levels. A kid fueled on nothing but chips and coke is not going to have the same energy as a kid fueled on healthy food. And as the pounds start packing on, you get more and more sedentary because it takes more and more effort to move the larger body around.
I find it ridiculous that so many people on internet take it for granted that kids, whether elementary school or high school aged, wont eat healthy food and eat only junk food. If that is really the case for many kids, then something went really wrong with both parents and school food that taught them this is normal. When you systematically don’t give them junk instead of normal food, they will eat normal food.
The one spoiled kid in I-do-not-know-how-many-dozens should not be treated as the norm and there is no reason to cater whole feeding to that one. Kids were not dying from hunger before junk food was invented. Some may go outside from junk, but not majority as long as that healthy food is not entirely disgusting.
If the kids do not eat healthy food and only junk is really reality, then it is really time to change up what they are given to eat.
“If that is really the case for many kids, then something went really wrong with both parents and school food that taught them this is normal.”
Yes, this is the norm for many American kids, especially low income kids. First, fresh fruits and vegetables are much more expensive than ramen noodles and mac & cheese. Second, it is what the parents know. Low income parents are generally not reading the latest nutrition articles and searching Pinterest for delicious ways to cook kale. Third, they do not have money to waste food experimenting with new tastes so they stick to things their kids will definitely eat. If you have to feed a family of 5 on $4.00, you are not going to waste $3.00 of it on kale unless you are damn sure that everyone will eat the kale. Fourth, contrary to popular belief in the US, most low income parents work extremely hard, often at more than job, and they tend to be very short on time and rely on processed foods.
Even outside of low income households, there is a considerable amount of kids ruling the roost. And busy schedules. And parents who eat crappy and are overweight themselves. And parents who are just sucky cooks.
And, up until recently, school food just mirrored those unhealthy meals. Until a couple years ago, ketchup and french fries were considered a vegetable in American schools. But even if school meals are made healthier, kids who eat nothing except junk outside of school are unlikely to dive into completely foreign healthy foods when they see them at school.
“If the kids do not eat healthy food and only junk is really reality, then it is really time to change up what they are given to eat.”
Kids don’t make good decisions. Oh, they’re certainly capable of it, but the main way we we learn to make good choices is by making bad ones and suffering the consequences. So if you give a kid a choice between something that is yummy but ultimately bad for them, and something that is not-so-yummy but ultimately bad for them, they’re going to be eating chocolate cake for dinner and the vegetables will tend to sit.
Now, one possible solution is used by lots of parents… sugary treats are not allowed. Soda is not allowed. And so on. It works… for a while. But frequently, you get kids who dive on all of that stuff as soon as mom and dad aren’t watching. I used a different approach, which was to promote balance… candy isn’t BAD, unless it’s displacing something GOOD. (AKA “eat your vegetables if you want dessert”, but with a different presentation.)
If you go into the schools and talk to the people who actually work in student nutrition, there is a constant struggle… the government mandates that they offer vegetables… but an amazing amount of vegetables winds up in the garbage, served but untouched. They’re caught in a catch-22… they have to keep costs low, but they also have to keep buying food that doesn’t get eaten. It’s not “The one spoiled kid in I-do-not-know-how-many-dozens” turning up his nose at a glop of canned spinach on a tray. (I don’t care what Popeye says, canned spinach looks like seaweed, and I’m not eating it.)
” Until a couple years ago, ketchup and french fries were considered a vegetable in American schools.”
Ketchup was also the vegetable that went into the kids rather than into the garbage. Thus providing the lesson… if you want kids to eat vegetables (of their own accord), all you have to do is add lots of sugar.
Thank you for that, Donna. Not so much on this site, but I do get tired of seeing low-income people getting bashed.
We’re quite lucky here in that a lot of fresh food is grown nearby to main centre’s, but I would imagine that food might have to come hundreds of kilometres in North America, surely increasing the price in the inner city etc.
@James Pollock–About the mandatory vegetables that get served and then thrown in the garbage, I wonder why the schools don’t just do the Sneaky Chef thing, and blend up the vegetables and hide them in marinara sauce, smoothies, hamburger patties, smoothies, et cetera:
In keeping with the usual trend….(and I’m sure I’m just repeating myself, here)
where I grew up – most kids got all the exercise requirement they ever needed just going to and from school.
We were all like that comic strip kid…..little Billy, in Family Circus….with the dotted line map tracing his progress from A to B (with the entire rest of the alphabet thrown in for good measure.)
No feets to school?
Well sorry folks. There weren’t never no exercise gotten while strapped in to the back seat of a car, sorta like a moonshot. That’s a helluva boring space ride, that is.
Not only was there ample opportunity for exerciseunsupervised…….about 97% of it was absolutely free.
I played organized sports….just out of curiosity and determination.
I played unorganized sports……………..for sheer joy. I remember that, well.
The unorganized outnumbered the other one by about 20 to 1.
And we ate junk every chance we got (which was far, far less than today.)
So go figure.
If required exercise costs money…..then how many rich kids wind up outa shape?
Wolves run free.
Dogs go to obedience school.
Ask any kid which one they’d rather be?
(and if that answer comes back as a woof….then we know there’s serious trouble.)
>>If required exercise costs moneyâ€¦..then how many rich kids wind up outa shape?<<
Me. My family was always comfortably well-off, and could easily afford to enroll me and my brother in whatever sports and activities we wanted to do, within reason. I did figure skating and horseback riding for a few years, until my mom's law school schedule precluded this, he did one season of soccer, three years of hockey, and a lot of just running around outside. We both did swimming lessons, which he quit somewhere around Star 3 or Star 4 (YMCA system), but I continued through the higher levels (finished Bronze Cross at fourteen), and we both did downhill skiing. We both played golf intermittently, at my dad's insistence, which I hated, but my brother tolerated. This started when I was six, but I was finally allowed to quit at fourteen, because my mom put her foot down and basically told my dad that I'd never liked golf, it had been almost nine years (ages 6-14 for me), so I shouldn't have to play anymore if I didn't want to. I haven't played golf since, except for glow-in-the-dark mini golf. We also both did downhill skiing, but that's not that much exercise. Anyway, the problem with me was, I have a spatial disability (five weeks premature, stuck feet first, umbilical cord wrapped around my neck twice cutting off the supply of oxygen to the left side of my brain, was saved by a C-section at 2 a.m.), so I'm not that co-ordinated, and I've always been something of an introvert, and I've never done well in crowds, so team sports have never been my thing. Gym class in school was torture for me, so my parents never signed me up for team sports outside of school, because there was no sense wasting money on something I would have hated. Since then, I've found other ways to stay active (working out on machines and swimming lengths at first, then yoga, Zumba, and other similar classes), and now I teach yoga, Zumba, and Aquafit. Back when I was a kid, those options weren't available to kids–it was mostly about team sports, or things where progress was measured with levels and badges and whatnot, and being less co-ordinated, I could never keep up with other kids my age, and they weren't shy about letting me know this…..so my defense mechanism a lot of the time was simply to refuse to participate. So, my point is, there's more to preventing childhood obesity, and promoting healthy behaviour, than paying for your child to play sports and being done with it. You could be well-to-do, and have a kid who's like I was when I was young, or you could have less money, but have the kind of kid who's always running around and climbing trees. That's not even touching metabolism–mine's always been slow, so even though I'm fit now, I'm still not slim. My brother's metabolism is much faster than mine, so he's always been naturally slim. We were raised in the same household, by the same parents, and we were given the same (or comparable) opportunities, and I struggled with my weight, and he didn't.
Stupid question, but I’ve wondered about it: what are the other ingredients in macaroni & cheese? I have a hard time believing I just named all two of them…
…although, after reading Donna’s comment… :-/
@Emily, re: the Sneaky Chef thing – Hahaha! I do that to myself 🙂 I don’t like paprika, but will eat it if cut in small pieces so it’s never the dominant taste.
@Hineata: “not Europe or the UK” As much as they complain about the EU, the UK is still part of Europe! 🙂
“what are the other ingredients in macaroni & cheese? I have a hard time believing I just named all two of themâ€¦”
There are two versions of mac & cheese. The first is delicious goodness of macaroni, cheese, milk/cream, butter bread crumbs. You can throw in things like spinach, kale, broccoli, ham, if you want to dress it up, but it is wonderful on its own. Also, not something you should eat very often as it is extremely unhealthy.
Then there is what I am talking about in this post. It is a box of macaroni and some orange powder that is allegedly cheese-flavored. You cook the macaroni, mix it with the powder and a little milk (it calls for butter too, but you can make it without the butter) and you have dinner. It costs about a dollar a box.
“but I would imagine that food might have to come hundreds of kilometres in North America, surely increasing the price in the inner city etc.”
Food isn’t particular expensive in the US. I thought food was a good bit more expensive when I was in New Zealand. But processed food is still much cheaper than fresh fruit and vegetables. Navel oranges currently cost about $.99 each. Ramen noodles cost $.25 each and are going to be more filling than a single orange each so you basically choose from feeding 4 kids lunch for a dollar or giving one kid a snack for a dollar.
There also tends to be a lack of grocery stores in the poor, inner city areas. There is usually plenty of fast food and convenience stores within walking distance, but getting to fruits and vegetables means taking the bus to the more prosperous areas of of the city (often the suburbs). Even though frozen veggies are not particularly expensive, you can’t get them home frozen on an hour and a half bus ride.
“if you want kids to eat vegetables (of their own accord), all you have to do is add lots of sugar.”
Or feed them vegetables from infancy. My kid eats vegetables. Always has. Most of my kid’s friends eat vegetables. However, kids who don’t get fed vegetables at home tend not to eat vegetables at school either.
It’s pointless to vilify fast food, soda, junk food, etc. as the sole cause of weight problems. The main culprit for childhood obesity is learned dietary habits children observe at home. Look at the trends in adult obesity in the US and I imagine they will mirror the problems we see in children. Kids learn how and what to eat from their parents. Exercise and physical activity habits are learned from parents too. It’s a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity and this lifestyle is learned at home.
As for vegetables, when we moved to our suburban home (from the country), one of the first things I did was plant a garden. My one neighbor asked why I didn’t just buy vegetables at the store as it is easier. She later planted a garden of her own when I gifted her with some of our fresh veggies. I still garden year-round (though I only have herbs now in the winter) and find that it’s the best way to introduce kids to fresh veggies (and fruit- we have berry bushes and apple trees now) and the cheapest way to eat healthy. We also hit many “pick-your-own” farms in the spring and summer and freeze our bounty for the winter months. The kids picked 20 lbs. of local strawberries that we froze, to be used in morning smoothies, so we don’t have to buy out-of-season tasteless berries that cost $5 when we got all of ours for $20 and they taste like candy.
@Papilio – given the amount of attention we used to have to pay to UK and European history (as opposed to our own!) I probably should know that â˜º. I still tend to think of them as separate â˜º.
@Donna – that doesn’t overly surprise me either, given that the cost of living is generally considered high here. Though as the old joke about the Kiwi priest and the Vatican goes, when God is only a local call, some things are bound to be pricier â˜º. Such a shame about the lack of supermarkets with fresh food in the inner city too. Makes it much harder. And it’s good that people still know how to make ‘real’ macaroni cheese, which is one of my favorites..that packet crap is depressing.
“Because ‘video games = lack of exercise’ is nonsense”
@James…..unless the kid is doing the wi (or is it spelled wee?) he is just sitting on his duff and that does indeed = lack of exercise.
@Donna…..Yes, there are exceptions. I do know of kids who are lean but play lots of video games and kids who are fat who play outside. But generally speaking, the kids who are outside playing on a frequent basis and the kids who are involved in sports, tend to be leaner than the kids who are always inside playing video games. I think the two go hand in hand too. It’s much easier to munch on a bag of chips while you’re inside playing a video game than it is being outside playing “Capture the Flag”. Yes, the TV was the big thing in our day BUT there were only 3 or 4 networks so it got boring real fast! The CDC and WHO are constantly saying that we must get our children moving more so I think lack of exercise is a big factor in the rise of obesity among today’s kids.
I also think a family’s socio-economic situation has a lot to do with it too. Kids from poor families tend to have parents with lower education, therefore, they may not get the proper diet and exercise training from their parents plus they may not be able to afford healthier food. Kids from wealthier families, however, tend to have parents with a higher education who probably know a bit more about nutrition and exercise that they can pass on to their kids. They also tend to be involved in their school’s sports teams more so than kids from poorer families. Perhaps because their parents might be more interested in sports. I think family structure is also important to a child’s physical well-being.
You know at the turn of the century (1899-1900) it was the other way around. The kids from the poor families tended to be leaner and meaner than the kids from the wealthier families probably because they were out laboring and eating bland tasting food because that’s all their families could afford whereas kids from wealthier families were always home inside eating the rich food. That’s still kind of true in some of your third world countries of the Mid-East and Asia although that’s changing too.
@Donna: “There are two versions of mac & cheese. The first is delicious goodness of macaroni, cheese, milk/cream, butter bread crumbs. You can throw in things like spinach, kale, broccoli, ham”
Now THAT begins to sound like an actual meal. (To me, macaroni is one of those meals to get rid of pretty much whatever vegetables you have lying around in your fridge, just like risotto rice or pizza. I guess I could give the crumbs a try though.)
Re: the availability of vegetables, how about cans or jars?
It all comes down again to minimum wages, doesn’t it? :-/ Or am I missing something?
@Hineata: So do the Britons themselves. There was actually a Dutch commercial a couple years back mocking them for that (about X being the best in Europe. Confused British lady to colleague: “Europe… Does that include us?”).
“@Jamesâ€¦..unless the kid is doing the wi (or is it spelled wee?) he is just sitting on his duff and that does indeed = lack of exercise.”
You’re woefully underinformed.
May I suggest some Google terms for you? “Playstation Move”, “Playstation Eye Toy”, and “XBox Kinect”?
Or simple logic? Unless the kid is playing videogames 168 hours per week, there’s time for both videogames and exercise.
“the kids who are outside playing on a frequent basis and the kids who are involved in sports, tend to be leaner than the kids who are always inside playing video games.”
In my experience, the kids who play organized sports also tend to be the ones who play the most videogames.
I think you need to let go of your videogamer stereotypes. There are more gamers who are female and over 30 than there are who are male and in their teens.
“Yes, the TV was the big thing in our day BUT there were only 3 or 4 networks so it got boring real fast!”
3 or 4 networks? You were spoiled. When I lived on the Oregon coast in the early 1980’s, there was one TV station. Satellite signals were still free and unencrypted, but you needed a six-foot dish antenna that could see the southern sky, and we didn’t have one of those.
“Kids from poor families tend to have parents with lower education, therefore, they may not get the proper diet and exercise training from their parents”
They are also much less likely to have video games, computers or internet access.
“Yes, the TV was the big thing in our day BUT there were only 3 or 4 networks so it got boring real fast!â€
We had 3 main networks, PBS and 3 or 4 UHF channels. We were all well-versed in Brady Bunch, Bewitched, Andy Griffin, I Dream of Jeanie, Gilligan’s Island – all of which originally aired before we were born, but came on UHF channels after school. And plenty of teen girls were into soap operas. Then there were first-run evening programs.
“Itâ€™s pointless to vilify fast food, soda, junk food, etc. as the sole cause of weight problems.”
Nobody is vilifying any food. Junk food is fine occasionally. You just can’t eat it for 3 meals a day and many people do. THAT – and greatly increased portion sizes – is really the only shift from our generation to this one. We spent plenty of time sedentary. Most of our parents had pretty sedentary jobs and were not out working the fields from down to dusk. We ate just about everything kids eat now. But we ate McD’s once or twice a year, not once or twice a day.
@James Pollock Most played video games are not in the moving category. It does not matter that they exist when they are not where majority of gaming happen. Those games and systems are quite niche products. When kids play video games they are not moving. Just as they are not moving when they read books – those who read books that is. The only difference is that more kids are consumed by games nowdays then kids used to be consumed by books.
Yes, playing good challenging game can eat as much calories as chess or other highly involved intellectual activity. Which is surprisingly a lot. However, it is still not exercise.
A lot of good things can be said about computer games and yes they get unfairly blamed for all societal ills. That still does not make overwhelming majority if gaming kids do an exercise.
“Most played video games are not in the moving category.”
Eh? Most played video games are played on mobile devices.
@James Pollock Yes, they sit somewhere while playing on mobile. Most often wc. They don’t do sport or move. And anyway mobile is irrelevant, people don’t have long gaming sessions on cell phone.They play here and there, 10 minutes a piece. Candy crush excepted, through again, candy crush is played by adults not kids.
andy, I’m going to have to refer you to this comment above, as it apparently applies to you, too.
@James Pollock And that comment had nothing to do with how kids play games most of the time. Most popular most played games are the ones that require you to sit and focus for long. Not wii and not kinect.
Moreover, women over 30 are not children and their gaming habits are irrelevant to child obesity topic. It literally does not matter whether they play games or not, because they are adults and thus not object of child obesity statistics.
Let me be clearer for you, andy. The parts of the previous post that are now also directed to you are:
“Youâ€™re woefully underinformed.”
“I think you need to let go of your videogamer stereotypes.”
But better still, go back and address this point:
“Unless the kid is playing videogames 168 hours per week, thereâ€™s time for both videogames and exercise.”
Looks like the playground rules at my kids’ school. It is so dumb to even have recess if no running or jumping is allowed. What is the point?
No running or jumping? Why bother?
What stereotype of gamer are you referring to? I said that most popular games are played while sitting down. I also agreed that games attract kids more then other sedentary activities. A kid who would not read nor build from lego would end up outside previously out of boredom. Games make it more fun to be inside, so the same kid is outside less. How is that controversial?
“A kid who would not read nor build from lego would end up outside previously out of boredom.”
Possibly. Or maybe he watched TV. Or drew. Or knitted. Or engaged in any of the millions of sedentary activities that one can do if one doesn’t like to read or play with legos.
And what about being outside mandates exercise? Sitting under a tree is no more calorie burning than sitting on a couch.
The fact is that kids who like to move will move. They are not going to want to sit in the house all day and play video games/watch tv/knit. Kids who have no interest in moving will find other sedentary things to do to occupy their time if you take away their video games. Most kids fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes and will spend the various portions of their day moving and engaging in sedentary activities.