How To Combat Childhood And Teen Obesity

Here’s the problem. Kids are getting fatter and fatter.

Our kids, your kids, everyone’s kids. It is a problem that is well-documented: Researchers say a combination of too much television and video games, cuts in school physical education programs and a sugary, high-fat diet have left kids dangerously out of shape.

Fifteen percent of school-age children are estimated to be obese, and the American Heart Association reported recently that more than 10 percent of U.S. children from ages 2 to 5 are overweight, up 7 percent from a decade ago. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey released a couple of years ago found that nearly 23 percent of children ages 9 to 13 weren’t physically active at all in their free time. They found the prevalence of children who were overweight tripled between 1980 and 2000.

Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and environmental health at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said “In African Americans and Hispanics the prevalence of overweight children is as high as 20 percent.”

What’s the solution?

Some experts suggest, along with improved dietary patterns, interventions need to emphasize reducing the amount of time children and teens spend watching television and playing video games.

But this is much harder than it sounds.

A recent US report F as in Fat, concluded than 45 percent of Americans aged between 12 and 17 played video or computer games or used a computer for two or more hours every day. Furthermore, the US state with the highest percentage of overweight children also had the highest percentage of children spending four hours-plus in front of a screen every day.

Inactivity is one of the leading risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes so encouraging kids to incorporate more physical activity every day, in any form, is a priority.

Here’s a way to combat the growing problem: call it “operation get off the couch.”

The idea is simple. Teens love computer games right? And we know that prohibition doesn’t work. Ok, encouraging already technology obsessed children to get ‘into’ computer games might seem like a bad idea.

Unless, of course, the game is LIVE.

Live gaming replicates the compelling action of computer games, and ensures children remain active, whilst still having fun.

Nicole Lander said participants are always amazed at how much like real gaming it is.

“They really feel as though they are playing their favorite computer game – even the gaming guns are the same!” Nicole said.

Live gaming combines the excitement of role-playing, team-building, and adventure, and stimulates kids both mentally and physically.

Participants are equipped with gaming guns that utilize harmless infra-red beams, much like a TV remote, to target other gamers as they enact various scenarios in safe, outdoor locations.

The game involves no mess, or risk of injury from harsh paintballs, and all ages, genders, and levels of fitness are accommodated.

Andrew Roberts was 15 years old when he started playing.

Just like online gaming everyone selects their own codename; Andrew’s is “Reaper.”

“I loved it. It’s a good way to keep fit while having a good time,” said Andrew.

“I have lost about 40 to 50kgs [88 to 110 lbs] in about 18 months playing every second weekend,” he said.

“The longer scenarios, and more running sometimes all adds up in the end, to all of us being tired at the end of it. So it works,” he said.

“Kids are too busy using their imagination, and having fun to notice that they’re getting a great workout,” Nicole said.

“The best thing about it is they’re involved in something they enjoy, while getting active at the same time,” she said.

Tips for Writing That Novel Inside You

1. Write something. Anything.Think about your idea. It doesn’t have to be clearly formed. You don’t have to have the entire plot mapped out in some massive diagram with PowerPoint presentation, you just have to have an idea. So as you sit there staring at that blank Word document wondering what on earth you think you’re doing, write something about your idea. It could be the start of the novel, a scene in the middle or even the last chapter (ala J.K. Rowling). If you literally sit there and make yourself write, something will come. It may be bollocks, but then they always say the first draft of anything is crap. Give yourself permission to be rubbish, don’t judge too harshly, just write. At this stage, the only person that’s going to see this other than you is God and he’s busy trying to sort out the Middle East. Aim for 2000 words. If you get to 1000 and can’t do anymore, don’t beat yourself up. When you come back to it, reread what you’ve written and you may well be surprised by what’s there. At least, I hope you are or this piece didn’t do what it said on the tin and you will be mad with me.

2. Keep Going. The trap I always fall into is to keep going back to the start and rereading from the beginning, mainly because this is easier than carrying on. This is fine when you first start but I find when I keep doing this, I never progress. You continually rewrite what’s already written, never getting much beyond the first few chapters. So, write more new material, as much as you can. Even if the hoovering suddenly seems a lot more appealing.

3. Don’t write yourself into a dead-end. Sometimes I get stuck. Where is the story going? What does my main character do now? How do I transition from where I am to where I want to be? The trick here is not to stand up, swear and curse the day you ever thought you could do this and abandon your writing. Try and write yourself out of it. Otherwise, you won’t want to come back to carry on. You will dread returning to the computer because you know you are at a dead-end. So, get yourself out before stopping for the day if at all possible. I know, easy to say, harder to do but I promise you’ll feel good if you get out of the hole.

4. Get to the End. Once you get going, you may find the words just flow which, of course, is the optimal place to be. Keep writing, get those 80,000 plus words down. 80,000 words! What the hell! No one told me it had to be 80,000 words. Finish it. When you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back. Maybe even have a bottle of wine to celebrate. You deserve it, because you have just completed your first novel and that is a fantastic achievement.

5. Put it away. Leave your book alone for at least 6 weeks. Don’t look at it, don’t touch it. Do all those things you wanted to do when you were writing it. Yay!

6. Review and edit. When you’ve given yourself some time to recover, come back to your novel and start to read. It will feel strangely exhilarating. Some bits will be utter crap but other parts will surprise you. I found myself thinking ‘wow, did I really write this, that’s actually pretty good.’ It’s a great feeling. Sort of like getting drunk and fooling around with a total stranger some bits are good, others…not so much. Now get your manuscript up to as good a place as you can. Be ruthless, take at least ten percent out of it. Needs to be tight, not flabby.

7. Send to friends/people whose opinions you respect. Once you’ve got it as good as you can, send to 5-8 friends or others you respect and ask them what they think. Tell them to be honest and ask for constructive ways to make it better. You don’t want to hear ‘I thought it was good/bad.’ You want reasons. Ask specific questions like ‘do you like the main character, is he/she believable? Is there too much/too little description? Secondary characters, like/don’t like, why? Also ask what’s good, what did they like? Some points you will agree with, some you won’t. Don’t get all shirty when they tell you the main character is about as sympathetic as typhoid, it’s always about making it better.

8. Send to strangers. Once you’ve done another few drafts incorporating the comments you receive it’s worth trying to get people you don’t know to read it. Strangers? I don’t want strangers reading it, what a ridiculous suggestion! What if they hate it? Then what? Websites like are a great way of getting complete strangers to read your work and give you an honest opinion that friends sometimes won’t.

9. Get it out there. Now it’s polished and edited to the absolute best it can be, start sending out to agents/publishers. Good luck! If you get that six figure deal as a result of reading this, let me know so I can send you my bank details for my percentage.

Some of the tips here are from Stephen King’s excellent book On Writing which if you haven’t read, go buy it and heed its message. It’s from the master. Here endith the lesson.