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 The Blackboard
(August 2003)

 “Set the Health Pace for Your Kids”
By Ron Jones, MS

Ron & Ronnie Muiriel at 3 days old
Ron Jones and 3-day old daughter Ronnie Muiriel Jones

 "Health is wealth--teach them young!"

I’ve been reflective lately.  Our new twins were born this week healthy and already strong.  I can’t help but think about how important it is for us to teach them about health and fitness in an American culture that values drive through junk food and out of control sloth.  It’s times like these when the words of Jack La Lanne ring loudly in my mind.  When I interviewed La Lanne last year, one of my questions was, "What can health professionals like me do right NOW to help Americans get healthier?"  He said tell the truth and start young.  La Lanne made the point that health professionals are up against multi-million dollar advertising campaigns for the junk food industry—and how true. 

The first day in the hospital I walked down to the nursery to visit our twins.  There was a Coke machine in the family care section that said, “Caring is hard work” with a photo showing adults caring for infants next to the Coke logo.  It’s easy to get sucked in if you let junk food giants think for you.  If you really want to keep up with small children, eating and drinking a bunch of crap isn’t going to make your body a high-performance machine!  From day one, babies and parents are being inundated with repulsive junk food ads.  Now for the “truth” part—our fast food nation is NOT working!  We are more unhealthy and overweight than we have ever been.  Is starting young with your kids important?  If you value the lives of your children, start teaching health early.  Failing to establish healthy behaviors immediately is a matter of life and death.  Don’t think so?  Then why are obese high school kids having heart attacks and graduating with “adult” Type II diabetes?!

Kids today are exposed to a media slaughterhouse of brand marketing.  My family MUST work hard to counter McDonald’s and the rest of the “fat food” giants.  But you know what—they are no match for what we can do at home.  There will be NO fast food for our babies.  Why the hell would any parent ingest horrible food into the little body of a healthy child when we know these foods are killing our kids?  Don’t look for us in the super-sized line!  We will not reward our children with junk food or endless hours of inactivity in front of a stupid TV or video game.  Think I’m a zealot?  Well in this “culture of crap” I guess so, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  At 43 years old I’m in better shape than most of the teenagers in this country.  My BMI is normal, and I don’t need any medications except regular exercise.  I’ll take my healthy lifestyle and teach it to our twins any day.  I’m not afraid to set the pace and lead by a healthy and fit example.  If the majority of Americans don’t like it—too bad!

It’s war.  Us versus super-sized sloth.  Our new children are worth the effort—are yours?  If so, do something!  Teach your kids how to eat right.  Exercise with them.  SPEAK UP when you go to the next “health” fair and they are serving hot dogs and sodas!  Reward your kids with something healthy instead of junk food that can kill them…and listen to Jack La Lanne who was labeled a “zealot” back in the day for setting the pace of modern American fitness.  His critics are now dead.  At 88, La Lanne still works out two hours a day and can juice a carrot faster than the fastest drive through. 

Jack La Lanne, carrots, and health vs. sloth, toxic junk food, and disease…it should be a “no brainer.”  Set the health pace for your friends and family.  Eat Healthy.  Get Fit.  Be Strong.  Teach your children ALL of these from day one—if not McDonald’s will. 

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