As parents, it's scary to hear words like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure describing our children. Unfortunately, these are realities that we have to contend with in this day and age. A lot of factors are to be blamed for this very unhealthy state of affairs for our young ones. A diet rich in refined sugars and greasy fast food is the first culprit. Donuts, chocolates, bacon, hotdogs, cheeseburgers, French fries have become their usual food staples. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains? Well, they're simply not delicious and have to take a backseat.

Then there's the business with computers. Back in pre-computer era, kids used to actually find glee in climbing up and down trees and jungle bars. They used to beg mom and dad to allow them to play ball with their friends. Now, the Internet has invaded their waking hours. And while we parents find comfort in the fact that we don't have to comb the neighborhood at night just to look for them, we know that the long hours our kids spend surfing the Internet playing Farmville or some other game isn't healthy for them. Now, it is actually our turn to ask them to come out and play!

Finally, the busy demands placed on us by our careers have basically left our kids to fend for themselves. Without the guidance of a mature adult for most of their waking hours, it's easy to see why our kids resort to eating fast food and surfing the Internet for hours on end.

If we want to keep our kids fit, the initiative must come from us. We have to start 'em young. It entails a bit more effort and preparation on our part, but the rewards of raising healthier and more proactive kids will be worth it in the end. For starters, you can begin by stocking the refrigerator with the healthy stuff: fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy and lean meat. Avoid putting soda or processed juices in your ref. Likewise, refrain from buying cakes, donuts, cookies or ice cream that your children can easily grab whenever they feel hungry. Over time, they'll acquire the taste for fruits and vegetables and would prefer water instead of soda. Have yogurt in place of ice cream.

It's also to their advantage if you wake up a bit earlier than usual and cook breakfast for them. This is vital since you don't want them to skip on this most important meal of the day. They'll lack the energy for school and will compensate by buying sugar-laden fare in the cafeteria. Also, make sure that you prepare healthy school lunches or snacks for them.

Where fitness is concerned, keep it fun and simple: Play with them! It is natural for toddlers and the younger ones to play with you. But older children might be a bit more hesitant. Make it a family tradition to get together on certain days of the week and just play Frisbee or badminton in the park or a local gym. Hiking, cycling or bowling can also be done together as a family. This way, they'll develop the habit of staying fit through play or sports. For your children who are so inclined, you can encourage them to join leagues or school sports groups. But for others who aren't interested, you family times may just be enough to give them the exercise they need to stay fit.

As parents, it is our responsibility to keep our kids in shape. Start 'em young!

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Author's Bio: 

Happily married mother of 2 beautiful children, fitness enthusiast, and traveler extraordinaire.