#parent | #kids | Time to drop the COVID 19 (pounds, that is) – Sentinel and Enterprise

As if Americans weren’t already dealing with an ever-expanding waistline — 42% obesity rate pre-COVID-19. Now we have to find new ways to weigh in when it comes to how we move about the so-called cabin.

Moving at home is OK when there is no other option. Lots of people took to Zooming yoga or setting up home gyms to keep the blood pumping and avoid people outside their pods. But how long can that practice sustain itself? And does it work well when it comes to kids?

Staying indoors over a finite period might work for a little while, and in a pinch, but the human body needs exercise, social interaction and lots of fresh air. To add to the dilemma, the isolation brought on by staying “safely” indoors and working and learning in front of a screen and from home these last few months has made stepping on the scale an unsettling exercise because of the risks brought on by a higher BMI.

Kids have to move. But it’s becoming more and more difficult to do so as we continue to push some form of distance learning.

At the same time, highly paid and dues-hungry progressive activists, like Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, a 1.7-million member monolith, collectively sit on their hands and shake their dishonest heads at the Trump administration for not acting quickly enough to the threat of COVID-19, and continue to shame the president every chance they get even as he was ahead of the curve when he encouraged our essential teachers to get back safely into their classrooms for the sake of all of our students, most of whom so desperately want to do so.

They’re kidding themselves if they think remote learning is going to be some kind of miraculous panacea. Last spring’s performance was proof.

Now the latest insult: Families will once again be expected to juggle work responsibilities and take on the added burden of their child’s remote education plan. More and more Americans will inevitably be spending more and more time sitting in front of a screen. More and more Americans will be getting less and less healthy because of this burden. Hardly a way forward toward health and well-being, and certainly not a productive way to work or learn.

Meanwhile, the waistlines of all Americans will pay in pounds and inches as they yo-yo between comfort eating and biting fingernails as they wonder what’s next. In fact, many Americans, contrary to some reports that claim most Americans have gained less than a pound, have actually pooh-poohed the default to sedentary for safety’s sake, a predicament some view by going the extra mile (or cupcake) to justify any extra poundage, making those that gained additional body mass victims of a virus we had no control over, and it doesn’t do much of anything in the way of solutions or for the many pinches we’re experiencing because of it.
And the pounds pack on. Not only on us, but our kids.

I’d held out hope that our grandkids would be able to play sports at least. But that was dashed when our daughter recently called with the disappointing news that our youngest grandsons’ youth sports programs through the school have been canceled. The same situation was confirmed when we called our son to see about our eldest grandson and his school district. We’re in tears thinking not only about the detriment to the health and well-being of our grandkids, but about the negative impacts these closures and cancellations will have for so many families. Our daughter is worried the rumors that schools might ditch the hybrid model and go completely remote are true.

What then?

If that happens, students will be spending more time than ever in front of screens and less time than ever interacting with real people. Double whammy: watered-down learning and filling up on handy snacks. I don’t have to spell out where that leaves us.

There’s no way around it. The helmet and elbow-pad brigade is now on steroids, and staying super-safe aims to throw a big fat stick in the spokes of our children’s best interests.

Next they’ll be telling us we’ll never die if we just stop living.

But who can blame everyday Americans for the added calories and the lack of exercise? Every time we turn around, there’s another alarming factoid of infinitesimal decimal-point measure and another shaming restriction to go along with it, not to mention a hefty fine to boot. The left demands that big government solve every problem, taking the onus off the individual. For example, the push for mask mandates. Tell me how it’s safer for a 7-year-old to wear a mask. And why, exactly, do we only go back to school with the promise of billions to fix immediately all that is inequitable?

Life is inequitable, last I checked. I wish I could play the piano like my best friend, but I can’t. I wish I was as tall and as quick at math as she is, but I’m not.

“It’s not about your rights,” Joe Biden, said fiddling with a black mask during an appearance in Wilmington, Del. “It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

He insists Trump’s plan to get kids back in school and playing sports is “just plain dangerous.”

Crossing the street is also dangerous.

The right wants little government and the freedom to be trusted to wear a face covering without having to be told. And they want to get back to work. They want to get their kids back in school and learning in healthy ways. Many are done with COVID-19 after state reports continue to show that, for example, no child in Massachusetts and New Hampshire younger than 20 has died of the virus. Is it worth the very low risk to teachers — most of whom do not represent vulnerable populations, like those in nursing homes — to keep our children in sedentary lockdown and stuck with a Google-app style education? It’s a subpar arrangement that we know is not beneficial to the health and well-being of any child.

It’s not just the social masking of low-efficacy face coverings, travel restrictions and bans against attending births, deaths and funerals of loved ones that are isolating us. Now it’s the cancellation of sports on all levels. Travel Leisure just published an article scaring Americans by recommending the only way to travel is from the safety of our own homes, on our couches, surfing the web!

Americans are becoming more vulnerable than ever. It’s as if every single thing is filtered through the lens of getting Trump dumped, and I fear that the end justifies the means, even if the means take our children down, too.

The irony is that obesity is also a co-morbidity. Here’s another interesting tidbit from travelandleisure.com (talk about mixed messages!): “For example, the company’s data shows those living in New York City are walking 29 percent less than they normally do, followed by San Franciscans walking 23 percent less and those living in Boston walking 19 percent less.”

Today the depressing news has me searching out a bit of comfort. A pastry box on the counter from a few days ago suggests there might still be a cider belly uneaten inside — a little sweet for the bitter moment. I justify my craving by telling myself I’ll start my diet tomorrow. Diet is 80% of the waistline battle, and Steve and I have already committed to getting off the couch by hiking a small, local hill every morning to enjoy the lake view and sometimes sharing coffee from a thermos. The extra activity of late has reset my appetite and helped my mood.

I head for the counter, eyeing the white cardboard box, thinking if there is a doughnut, I’m ditching it, and knowing this is necessary, even empowering. But when I lift the lid, only a tiny book with Greta Thunberg on the cover stares up at me. “How dare you?!,” she seems to be saying.

The belly laugh is satisfying. The more laughs the better these days, and a calm and cool Steve pokes fun. “I was trying to flatten your curve by getting rid of the doughnut.” He chuckles and tells me he has beaten me to the punch, and it’s good knowing we’re both on the same page.

When Steve isn’t looking, I hide Greta in his computer bag. Her choice to protest by staying out of school seems sad to me, and it has done little to help our kids now. Our children, more than ever, need the best education we can give them, and they need to be physically fit if we are going to successfully manage issues like population, food and climate.

For now, parents will have to improvise and get creative on many fronts.

Let’s see how our nation’s children weigh in a year from now. Let’s see how we all do.

For now, for us, it’s a quick hike in the morning before anything else, a mask stuffed into our pockets, and the hope that our children will get the best educations and fitness we can give them.

Bonnie J. Toomey teaches at Plymouth State University and writes about writing, learning and life in the 21st century. You can follow Parent Forward on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bonniejtoomey. Learn more at www.parentforward.blogspot.com or visit bonniejtoomey.com.




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