Able Body, Stable Mind, Noble Soul
Childhood obesity is a cause for grave concern among parents. On the other hand anorexia is also becoming a dreadful obsession among growing teens. As responsible adults, while we certainly wish to help, to most of us our own fitness regime is a challenge. How to make exercise a habit? Start them young…
Every child above the age of ten knows that one must avoid fatty foods and do some form of exercise. But given the scenario at homes, the emphasis on only academics at schools, the thrill of entertainment with friends and the numerous distractions we have willing allowed them to become slaves to, the child remains complacent about ever becoming ‘fit’. Without the right motivation to avoid them, unhealthy habits lure the young mind into a downward slide of obesity and dis-ease. Where have we collectively as a species lost this ability to appreciate the importance of health?
All man made gadgets come with a user manual and we spend hours learning new technology and smart usage of unnecessary applications. We spend huge amounts on annual maintenance contracts to keep our ‘toys’ in good condition. Unfortunately, we don’t spend enough time in learning the only piece of machinery worth maintaining – our body for it is the only one we can ever have. We have not taught our children to respect this miraculous body thereby inviting them to fall prey to all our weaknesses. If only we could tell him the worth of his lungs, would he ever inhale the fumes of a cigarette? If only we have helped her stand in awe at her ability to create life, would she be willing to trade that for a few kisses at age 12? If only they were told how a drop of protoplasm takes a mere 272 days to create a human body and has the resilience to live a lifetime, would they still abuse this miraculous expression of their self – the body? Childhood obesity is the curse endured by children for the ignorance entertained by adults! It is not about ‘telling’ the right ways or ‘teaching’ the right principles, it is about ‘being a living example’ to emulate.
If a child doesn’t enjoy sporting activities as much as another, they are targeted as being weak. But fitness is the birth right of all ! The aim of Physical Education in schools is to improve the self esteem and confidence in children so that they may use this vehicle called body to achieve all of their dreams. However, most often, with a few exceptions, most children in India think of PT as their ‘free’ class. We have failed to make them understand the importance of physical fitness.
Thankfully it is not too late. The awareness for health is beginning to seep into the social conscience. There is hope for a healthier Gen Next.
By Gita Krishna Raj printed in Food & Health magazine in January 2014.