- - Sunday, February 9, 2014

A new study by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health says that kids who are obese by five years of age are more likely to be heavy later in life. The only people to blame in this case are the parents of these kids, since parents are solely responsible for what a child that young is eating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. These are scary statistics that will only get worse unless parents stop making excuses and take action immediately.

Many parents will tell you they simply don’t have time to pay attention to what they eat or what their kids are eating. They blame their long work days and children’s school schedule and extracurricular activities.

They’ll tell you they are too stressed and that frozen dinners and fast food are easier than shopping for and preparing a well-balance nutritious meal. Sure, life is tough; no one ever said it was easy. However, you can control what your children are eating.

If your child is overweight or obese, it’s time to awaken from the stupor that holds you back and take a good, long look at your child. You would never do anything to intentionally cause harm to your child, but that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you put down the plate of French fries and vanilla ice cream and call it dinner.

So what’s the solution?

Parents must teach their kids that fat is not a toy with which to play. Fat is the enemy you decimate, and as quickly as possible. This is not a game or a hobby; this is a war.

At its root, eating healthy and taking care of yourself is a battle of wills. It’s you against yourself — the ultimate contest. Your little ones are watching every move you make and copying every action you take.

Start by setting the example for your kids by eating healthy foods, all day, every day.

Sit your children down and have a frank discussion from objective reality, or the way things really are. The most health-conscious parents explain to their kids that food can either be their friend or their foe, it can help them live a long vitality-filled life or it can make them sick and kill them.

Parents must teach their kids that being fat is not something to be taken lightly, but something to annihilate. Parents need to teach their kids that eating healthy and being active aren’t a chore or burden, but a necessary part of life. Parents must teach their kids to always ask the question, “How is what I am putting in my mouth going to impact my health?”

Teach your children that being fat is a dangerous condition that leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and a host of other debilitating, deadly diseases, not to mention low energy, decreased vitality and mental sluggishness.

In other words, teach your kids that being fat is all bad. There are no redeeming qualities.

Considering all the information available on the threats of obesity, it’s time to stop being stupid, stop playing Russian Roulette, wise up, get tough and be an example to our kids. If your child is overweight or obese, you’re setting him up for a lifetime of sickness, fatigue, misery and, ultimately, an early grave.

Steve Siebold is author of “Fat Loser! Mental Toughness Training for Dieters” (London House Press, 2014).