Parents, Coaches and Teachers – The Overweight Child In Sports

If a child is drowning you don’t ignore her because it is an uncomfortable situation. You save her. If a child is starting to run across a busy street you don’t turn your back because you might not get to them in time. You try to make the situation better. When did it get to be “untouchable” to save a child from possible life long health issues when we clearly see that action needs to be taken?

Overweight is unhealthy. It is not cute. It is not a sign that you have a lot of money and the ability to buy lots of food. Overweight children, who do not have any disease that makes them overweight, are being raised poorly by their parents. Ignoring this situation is abusive. If you know your child can’t hear you get them a hearing aid. The health of our children is part of our responsibility as parents. And I add teachers and coaches to the mix as we can have a positive affect on a situation that has to change.

No, we don’t go to the other extreme of skinny children and athletes who are also unhealthy. There is a healthy middle ground. But we have to talk about these things. Weight in children should not be a taboo subject. It is just like a child getting a little behind in her school work. She may have to adjust her schedule and habits to get back to normal. Yes, normal. There is a “normal” healthy weight for most children. Yes, there are exceptions as in anything and everything, but there are “norms” that 90 – 95% of children fit into.

Offending someone? Not talking to the parent of an overweight child because it might offend the parent? We have gotten so sensitive that we see a problem in front of us and we can’t talk about it to help make it better? So we all turn our backs? Overweight is unhealthy. Overweight is a significant problem.

It is time we stopped making this so personal and “hush, hush.” Parents need to realize that they may need a little help in changing this situation. An overweight child is like a child who is unmotivated. Work needs to be done on them. Overweight children are like children who have joined the wrong group of peers who could negatively influence their lives. Overweight is not a curse or something that needs to be ignored. It is a childhood situation that needs to be worked on. By all of us.

Some of the best benefits of sports are the exercise, fitness development, strength development and weight control. Let’s all join in making weight control as accepted as getting stronger or more flexible.

No, we are not going to single out the overweight children on our teams in front of the others. We don’t make fun of the weaker ones or the less flexible ones or the less talented. We are all adults and realize that these kids have feelings that need to be protected in all of these areas. But to ignore one of these areas because it is “a sensitive subject” is doing a disservice to the child.

Time to make weight an issue just like all of the other life altering situations that face children. That includes building confidence, aggressiveness, leadership and a healthy life style. Time for the educators and the parents to recognize the problem when it exists and to work together to improve the life of the child, today and for tomorrow. Ignore this problem? That is childish. (Share this if you think others will benefit.) Tom Burgdorf Gymnet Sports on Facebook

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