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Blame toddlers

This message is for the three-year-olds living in Thunder Bay and the surrounding region. Toddlers have been getting some bad press lately and it looks to me like somebody is hitting below the belt (or pampers) on this one.
This message is for the three-year-olds living in Thunder Bay and the surrounding region. Toddlers have been getting some bad press lately and it looks to me like somebody is hitting below the belt (or pampers) on this one.

According to a recent landmark study Canadian tots are a bunch of slackers. Obese young children as young as three are showing signs similar to heart disease indicators in adults. Researchers were shocked. So far there has been no comment from the three-year-olds.

I was shocked myself to discover there are researchers with so little to do and so much money on their hands that they feel the need to explore the realm of playpens and sandboxes to discover the next health care disaster.

However, I was not shocked to learn today’s fat, out-of-shape, unhealthy parents have kids with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke at three years old.
I don’t know many three-year-olds these days and it has been some time since we had any toddlers around the house so I have no idea what is happening to these young Canadians in the prime of their pre-school years. These should be the happiest, most carefree days of their lives but instead, toddlers in the 21st century have to worry about their next angiogram.

Are these tots that different from us when we were three? If I remember correctly, my playmates at the time were very active.

We walked and sometimes ran everywhere we wanted to go. We enjoyed free play all day and even when it was time for bed we still didn’t want to settle down. Thinking back, I can’t recall a single kid with heart problems, and strokes at the age of three were unheard of.

What’s the matter with kids today? Why should their hearts be more diseased than ours at the same age? Did they stop playing and horsing around? Don’t they run around aimlessly all day any more? Are they smoking too much?

Are they eating too many sweets at nursery school? It wasn’t that way in my younger days. Three-year-olds used to take better care of themselves.

But wait a minute, these are just kids. What did they ever do to be singled out like this? Are we seriously trying to blame these cute, cuddly citizens of doing something wrong? Isn’t that being a little unfair? 

It’s more than unfair – it’s blatant toddlerism. If three-year-olds knew what we were saying about them we’d be hearing from their lawyers.

Let’s face it, as parents and grandparents ourselves we aren’t exactly setting a good example. When it comes to physical fitness and healthy lifestyles Canadians are certainly breaking new ground but it’s nothing to brag about. We are making all the wrong choices.

Between 1981 and 2009 Canucks of all ages became heavier and grew bigger bellies. Some argue our increased size and weight show that we are more buff and muscle-bound than ever. Nothing could be further from the truth. Overall we are weaker and less fit than we were three decades ago. 

The average 45-year-old man now weighs 20 lbs. more and women of that age are also stretching their spandex in bold new directions.  More than 60 per cent of adults are overweight or obese.  Younger Canadians are fat and out of shape, too. One in seven children couldn’t even have their fitness levels measured because they were too unfit to take the test. 

When did it become fashionable to burden our children and grandchildren with the fallout from our poor lifestyle decisions?  It has already been predicted future generations will have a shorter life expectancy.  We know our kids won’t be as rich as we are and they won’t have job security or a social safety net. They will have to cope with climate change, polluted oceans and food and water shortages.

And now we have the nerve to tell them they will be fat and out of shape too and have the beginning signs of heart disease at the age of three. That’s a cruel legacy to leave for our children.

Maybe today’s toddlers will go on to be a thinner, stronger,  healthier generation. Unfortunately it looks like they’re off to a shaky start.

If three-year–olds really want to enjoy increased fitness and better health they should be very careful about the parents they chose.

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