Contributed by Veronica Cruz | 2013
It’s no news that child obesity has become a growing problem in the US. Kids more than ever are consumed by the use of technology: tablets, phones, video games – you name it! It seems like they’re less inclined to get involved in physical activities. But listen up Dads! Even when technology can be a major influence, you ARE their biggest influence!
According to the CDC, in 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were obese. Additionally, children and teens who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults and have more health problems.
I’m not a dad, but I do have a friend who chose to change his lifestyle and who has seen positive outcomes in his life as a father and a husband. If he can do it, so can you!
Armando Salazar has been happily married to his wife Adriana for 12 years and has three children, an 11yr old girl and two boys, ages 10 and 4. This H.S. weight lifter who, as he says, “lifted weights to help his self-esteem issues” had lost interest in exercising and lived a passive lifestyle for years, which changed his body and health for the worse. But that changed 15 months ago when, through Facebook (yes, technology!), he was introduced to running through a friend who started a small running group called the Running Peeps. Armando says his life “has drastically changed in a fulfilled and positive way”, since he began running. Even more exciting was the domino effect his new passion had on his family. His wife joined him a week later running in the same group and shortly after decided to make an impact on school-age girls. So she became a coach for their daughter’s running school program called (GOTR) Girls on the Run. Armando says she’s been instrumental and a huge support in his new running passion. She has also changed their family’s cooking habits for the better. Today, he feels lucky to have all-around positive influence & passion in their family & their new (running group) friends. His kids find both mom and dad impressive: “It’s cool and overwhelming when your kids think highly of you & tell you that they want racing medals like mommy and daddy!” He says they’re looking forward to competing when they are able to. Meanwhile, they cheer mom and dad on during their races. But, you see, running has also brought the family together: “This past summer we enjoyed more outdoor activities than in the last 10yrs. We shared more bike rides, family runs, and hiking than ever before. Running has brought our family closer & we have a closer bond because of it.”
Armando just ran his first Chicago Marathon and hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon some day. “I want to show my kids that a goal is always attainable as long as YOU believe and not let life circumstances get in the way of reaching them.” And since sharing is caring, Armando invites dads and moms who want to live a healthier lifestyle to join their awesome running group “Running Peeps,” which have grown from 20 to 350+ runners. Check them out on Facebook.
Dads, we encourage you: Walk the walk. They’re watching, and they will follow.