All In The Family: The Struggle To Keep Our Children Lean And Healthy

Many parents do not identify their child as “overweight,” but will select a sketch of a heavier model when asked to choose one representative of their child, new study findings show.

“Comparisons between images and sketches showed that parents’ visual perceptions of their children more clearly reflect their child’s physical appearance than words they might use to classify the child’s weight,” study author Dr. Helen J. Binns, of Northwestern University in Chicago told Reuters Health.

“So parents have a correct visual perception, but don’t consider that to fit in the medical diagnostic categories,” she added.

Previous studies have found that helping parents recognize their child’s overweight status and their willingness to make the necessary behavioral changes is key to their child’s treatment. Parents who fail to recognize that their child needs help may not be ready to receive any related counseling or other interventions, researchers say.

Yet, various reports show that many mothers – especially those with young children – do not consider their overly chubby children to be overweight, with some wrongly believing that their child is “about the right weight.”

In the current study, Binns and her team examined parents’ perceptions about their child’s overweight status and investigated whether sketches may be useful in helping parents recognize their child’s problem.
Of the 223 children studied, 20 percent were overweight and 19 percent were at risk for becoming overweight. Over half (60 percent) of the 2- to 17-year-old study participants were under 6 years old.

Similar to previous studies, the researchers found that many parents failed to recognize that their child was overweight. Only about one third (36 percent) of parents correctly identified their child as overweight or at risk for becoming overweight.

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Comment From Jon:
There is really no other way to say this than to spit it out — our bad habits are killing our kids. I know that sounds “bleak”, perhaps too blunt, but I shoot from the hip…and this is the absolute truth.

One of the reasons I created “Scale The World” was to address this very issue. The people of our generations — 40s and up — are the ones who simply must act now in order to prevent this healthcare crisis.

One in four children are now overweight. One in four will develop diabetes in their lifetime, and one in six before they reach the age of 30. American children top the scales as the most overweight, increasing over 400% in less than 30 years.

These kids are not learning to eat on their own. They’re learning to eat by watching us.

Far be it from me to give parenting advice, but common sense would suggest that we, as moms, dads and grandparents, should set a table that our kids can learn from.

One of the greatest blessings for me was to see how many role models in Fit Over 40 were able to balance their parenthood (and grand-parenthood) with healthy nutrition. Their children reflect it as well — they are fit, healthy, and happy. My friend and Fit Over 40 role model Spice Williams has a child who was born diabetic — he didn’t “become” diabetic through poor nutrition but rather through a non-functional pancreas.

Through sound nutrition and exercise, this young lad has the energy of ten kids, the physique of a future hall-of-famer, and the disposition of a saint! He’s also a heck of a martial artist. (Hey Spice, he’s a cool one!)
Let’s set our tables with our future in mind — starting today.

Jon Benson
Creator/Co-Author of Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age

Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage

by Stephanie Coontz

Modern marriage is in crisis; but don’t pine for a return to “the good old days,” when men earned money and women kept house. Don’t even assume the crisis is all bad. Coontz details how society’s attempts to toughen this institution, have actually made it more fragile. =>

Sand and Water Tables As Educational Tools

Sand and Water Tables are a perfect addition to classrooms, daycares, playrooms or backyards. Really, anywhere there are children with adults interested in their education. There are literally hundreds of ways to elevate the level of learning for your children by coming up with different projects, or using different material, even conduction experiments with your sand and water tables. Children will experience development in sensory, motor and social skills, and have a broader understanding of spatial relations and natural science. Oh yea, and an amazing amount of fun!

When choosing a project for your class or your kids be mindful of their ages. For example; if you are going to substitute sand with dry noodles make sure small children are being supervised closely to prevent choking. For older children lay down some rules and give them some responsibility over their sand and water table. If you take the sand and water tables out regularly get the children into a routine of set up and clean up. This not only makes your life easier, but this teaches them to work together and as you praise them for a job well done they will learn to take pride in work.

Free play requires little preparation on your part and is one of the greatest ways to use your sand and water table. There are very few limitations on what your children can experience. Try setting your children up with sand, water and toy sea creatures. Throw grass in there for sea weed. Not that children need much encouragement before they play pretend, but sometimes its fun to teach them about the ocean maybe let them color in an octopus or shark before letting them go. Free play is a highly educational time for children, it is not simply a way to keep the kids occupied, though it does accomplish this well. During this time children learn to create their own worlds which gives them a sense of control over their environment. Children are young and their imaginations are powerful and this little tub is like a melting pot. Watch your children closely and you will see them working things out together and yes sometimes fighting as their view of this play world may clash with someone elses’ view. Free play helps them learn to share, not only toys but also space and a collaborative view of their ocean world.

Sensory Games are also excellent ways to use your sand and water activity tables. One idea is to first make the water cloudy with paint or even mud. Then place different object at the bottom. Then have the children form a line and one at a time try to guess, by using their sense of touch, what is at the bottom of the tub. Aside from random objects, have each child bring something from home. Send them home the day before with a ditto explaining the project so their mom can help them find something suitable. Then have them bring it in concealed in a paper bag and brought to you. This project is fun to watch the kids try so hard not to tell the others what they brought in. And they all get pretty excited when their object gets picked. Another variation of this is to find three dimensional letters and numbers and have them feel what symbol they are holding. After they have guessed their letter correctly have them hold on to it for a project to do latter where you can reinforce their understanding of the alphabet, now from a platform of pride and accomplishment. Children always learn better when they think its their idea or that they have somehow earned it.

Other fun educational activities are Sand and Water Table Experiments. By using your sand and water table children can learn about photosynthesis, metamorphosis, erosion and countless other laws of natural science. Try filling a clear tub with healthy soil and divide the tub in half by placing an opaque tub over on half (so as to block out light on that half). Then have each child place two seeds in the soil, one each side. Make sure they place their seeds close to the outside, half the fun is watching the roots grow. As they see the plants growing you can explain photosynthesis by teaching the kids how plants need to eat soil, water and sunlight like they need to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.

While sand and water tables are built for the convenience of having a portable and secure tub, many of the same projects, experiments and fun can be had by using large plastic bowls, baby bathtubs, or any container that can hold water, be easily dumped and is not in danger of braking.

Corey Hardin, Vice President to JoLee OE Early Childhood Educational Products. If you are interested in purchasing Sand and Water Tables, Sensory Tables, or simply looking for fun projects to do with your sand and water tables, I recommend Fun Kids Tables.

What we owe our parents …

The debt of gratitude we owe our mother and father goes forward, not backward. What we owe our parents is the bill presented to us by our children.

–Nancy Friday

More quotations about family at

Give Your Children Ideals For Living

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

As parents it is our sacred duty to train our children in the way they should be properly trained. Is there only one way to do this right? If you were to ask 100 parents what the “right” way to train their children was, you would almost certainly get 100 different answers. But one thing should be consistent: parents should be responsible for insuring their children are raised to be productive citizens. For me, that means my children should have a basic understanding of right and wrong and have a great desire to only do what is right.

In attaining this goal you should give your children ideals for living. May these three suggestions give you some “ideals” on how that may better be accomplished.

1. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES – To live life to the fullest, you need to be able to think independently. This is how you can create a world of limitless possibility. In today’s world there are leaders and there are followers. Hopefully, we are training our children to be leaders. To be leaders they need to be able to think independently. To think independently means to question everything! Listening to the advice that other people give you is fine as long as you do not act on that advice until you have questioned the wisdom of the advice. Ultimately, you need to form your own personal opinion. This is what leaders do, whether they are leading a company, a family, or their own lives.
2. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN INTEGRITY – Webster defines integrity as the adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Teaching integrity is a vital part of training our children. When it comes to the end of our time here, the only things we leave are the memories of our life and our reputation. What future generations remember of you and your children will be determined by the teachings received as they mature.

3. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN A WORLD PERSPECTIVE – This world is constantly evolving. With the development of the internet we hear about events around the world seconds after they occur. We can send and receive mail from family and friends without the need of a postage stamp. But with this wonderful technology comes serious responsibility. As parents, we can easily show our children the beauties of this world: its various cultures; videos of different countries; challenges being faced world wide. Too often we find comfort in just meeting our own needs in our own communities. Our children could grow up to tackle some of the world’s challenges if we would only provide them with the means to develop a better understanding of other cultures.

Our family was blessed to be able to work in a foreign mission field for four consecutive summers. The experiences we as a family enjoyed has had a lasting effect on our children. Our children developed what I refer to as compassionate hearts. Our daughter now enjoys her work as the wife of a youth minister and together they will soon be working full time in the mission field. Both of our sons gained a better understanding of other cultures as well. Though they are not pursuing mission positions they both support missionaries throughout the world. They care about people living in places who might not have the same opportunities as they. By teaching your children a world perspective you are opening their minds to the future.

In our world today, teaching our children a world perspective can be challenging, but also very rewarding. Here are some ways that we prepared our children to “go out and meet the world”.

1. Experience different cuisines. Most cities have a wide variety of ethnic restaurants. In our city we located restaurants representing 30 different cultures. We discussed with our children a plan to experience as many of these different cuisines as we felt prepare them for our travels. Then we added a few just to make it more fun. (Okay, maybe we didn’t plan to go to China, but I love Chinese cuisine.) Once each month we would make plans to go to a restaurant offering items that represented one of the countries on our list. Before going to the restaurant we would “google” the chosen cuisine for the evening and learn what choices we might have. Then after the meal we would discuss how the food we had was different than what we normally eat and what was our favorite item. Yes, we all ordered different entrees and “shared”. We have great memories from this activity and it helped us better understand the people and food of different cultures.

2. Learn some foreign phrases. We knew that the home base for our travels would be Vienna, Austria and since German is the language of Austria, we worked as a family on learning different phrases that would be useful when in Austria. There are so many great language courses on the market. We picked one that we felt would fit our situation. With the software we purchased we were able to hear a native speaker pronounce the words and we would repeat. It was obvious quite early that our children were catching on much quicker than their parents. Also with the software were videos teaching about the culture of the German people. It was a tremendous help in building our confidence for meeting people of another land. Our children became quite excited about learning the language and using the language when needed.

3. Watch YouTube Videos Together. Rick Steves has a great selection of travel videos that he made on sites in Europe. Just go to and type “Rick Steves Europe” in the search box and select the videos that apply to your travel plans. After viewing the video discuss the video together.

4. Go on a family trip outside [your own country]. Trying to develop a world perspective could be accomplished to a limited degree from the many regions of [your own country], but to really have an experience that will make a lasting impression, it is hard to find a better way that actually visiting foreign countries. Hopefully, most families will have a goal of taking their children to visit at least one foreign country before they graduate from high school. The financial investment to travel to a foreign country could be a challenge to many household budgets, but the experience that you and your children will have will be a far greater reward than the cost of the investment. Like with any major purchase it will require the family working together to make it happen, but even the working together will add to the total feeling of accomplishment when you step off that plane in a foreign country as a family. Nothing can replace the experience of a family trip outside [your own country]. Through learning about other cultures by seeing and experience that culture first hand, we as humans gain a better understanding of the world around us.

Author: Ronald D Mitchell
Raising christian children is becoming more of a challenge in today’s world. May I encourage you to visit my website On my website I try to keep material to help parents encourage their children to learn biblical principles beginning at a very early age. Go there now and may God bless you and your children.