While not quite as severe, the accelerating rate of childhood obesity in Australia which currently stands at about 25% have some taking extreme measures to combat it.
People have become so worried about this problem Down Under that kiddie gyms are being set up at daycare centers and even the homes of children ages 3-5 years old.
Kiddie gyms come complete with treadmills, weight benches and even rowing machines.
Some daycare centers are even charging membership fees for children to use the equipment much like adult gyms and fitness centers.
Has this approach to reversing the increasing trend of childhood obesity gone too far?
It seems that children should really be playing outside in the fresh air and sunshine for their exercise, not doing the lab rat on a treadmill.
The boring, repetitive nature of treadmills, rowing machines and the like may actually backfire and teach children to hate exercise rather than embrace it as the fun, creative experience it is supposed to be.
It would be interesting to go through the pantries of the families who are installing these mini gyms in their homes. Are the pantries full of chips, crackers, cookies, fruit juice boxes, soda and other processed foods?
Are the children allowed to eat mindlessly in front of a constantly turned on TV?
Sadly, the answer to both of these questions is likely yes which means that such gyms would have little impact on the child’s overall health until the underlying reasons for the problem are addressed.
Since kiddie gyms require adult supervision anyway to prevent injury, it seems that the time would be better spent taking the child to the park or for a bike ride. At least then, fresh air and possibly some Vitamin D producing sunshine would be involved.
On a brighter note, one very effective use for the kiddie gyms has been discovered by hospitals. The gyms are being used to help children recover from car accidents.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.