Image courtesy of Todd Gaster

Image courtesy of Todd Gaster

My regular readers know I grew up in the 1970s, before we had game-boys and DSs, let alone smartphones, wi-fis or X-Box gaming systems. We played outside, doing everything we could to “play for another five minutes” when Mom called us in for dinner. In today’s society, we must ask ourselves: Are video games making our kids fat? Let us explore this topic.

Types of kids

There are three types:

  • those focused on sports and not really interested in video games
  • those focused on sports but devoting some of their downtime to gaming
  • those uninterested in sports, spending all their free time gaming and doing nothing else

To clarify the termsports, we mean traditional non-required sports like football, baseball and soccer, plus dancing, swimming, gymnastics, bike-riding — any game, team or solo, that provides exercise for thirty minutes or more, daily or at least three times per week. Mandated classes like physical education are not included.

Connection between video gaming and childhood obesity

Image courtesy of Christopher Bowley

Image courtesy of Christopher Bowley

Activity

The typical child spends eight hours a day in class and perhaps thirty minutes thereof in phys. ed. Otherwise, a child can be physically active and exercise his or her body only after school or on weekends. Unless they are involved in an activity that requires them to move their bodies, they become sedentary, gaining weight as time passes.

Diet

As we all know, children do not have the best dietary habits, which consist largely of chicken nuggets, burgers, French fries, ice cream, pop and other “junk foods” — unless, of course, the parents are focused on health and wellness, in which case they follow a healthier diet plan and also engage in more exercise and activity. How can children have healthy bodies if they spend most of their time sitting, whether in school or at home before a TV or gaming console? It is simply not feasible.

ADD and ADHD

These are also major problems in our society and may be related to inactivity and poor diets. In the 1970s, when they did not exist, children burnt off excess energy and ate healthier meals. Fast food was a treat. Obesity and focus issues were less prevalent than today, when people are simply not taking responsibility for themselves and passing these lessons on to their children.

We can change all this.

Good news — we can choose how to treat our bodies. Parents who complain about their children consuming only fast food should view the problem objectively, rather than as victims. They taught them about such food and pushed them off to play video games instead of engaging and forming bonds with them that enable them to be productive members of society.

We need to lead our children by example with our own minds and bodies. The next time your child asks to eat fast food before the console, ask yourself how you can make a different choice — one that will affect your child’s life immediately, for decades to come and even on into future generations. Be self-responsible, self-loving and self-respectable.