Cranky Fitness published a great article with discussion over Michelle Obama's recent public revelation over their minor children's BMI being a concern. It discusses more the concern over making that information public.
BMI in my children was a huge concern of mine. Well, it still is, but I had to wait a few years to get over that concern. You see, I was an obese child, and I am not raising obese children. I had a single mother who worked many long hours and I was kept in the care of an obese babysitter that never went outdoors for any activity. I wasn't allowed to play outdoors, run in the halls, or have any structured team participation. When my mother wasn't working and had time to allow me to participate in anything, she had an overwhelming fear that I would be hurt. And I was, especially when I went to camp and tripped over a tree root and broke my arm at the elbow. But hey, if I wasn't 25 lbs overweight at the time, maybe I wouldn't have been hurt so badly. But I digress.
My oldest daughter is average size. Sure she has a little gut and a little rear, but I never consider her too be overweight, and her pediatrician who I adore, has never alerted me to watching my daughter's weight. I also don't consider her to eat too much junk. I don't buy it with frequency, and I don't encourage it. When she is hungry, she reaches for an apple or a banana. She does sneak one too many dips into the refrigerator for grapes and strawberries, which never get tasted by anybody else. And for a girl that doesn't drink much milk, an occasional string cheese won't break the scale.
I have all my children in sports, and I know they are getting activities at school; even in the Wisconsin winters they get fresh air and run around. I am constantly trying to introduce a physical activity or sport into their lives. Even if it doesn't stick or it is too expensive and time consuming, I feel it is my duty to let them choose by participating and deciding what they enjoy.
The single most important thing I feel that I must do as a parent is to "role model behavior". I may be obese under the BMI standards, but I walk the walk. I eat well, make healthy meals for the children, and I make healthy options available. I also exercise. They see me buy the DVDs and the weights; and while they don't always see me do the exercise, they see me when I wake them dressed in my work out gear, sweaty and red, and getting ready to hop in the shower.
I also don't allow my daughters to hear me call myself fat or say that I am on a diet. I don't want my girls to become self conscious about their weight. I don't ever want to encourage self destructive eating habits. I'm not trying to keep them in a "life is beautiful" bubble, but I also don't want them to be aware that looks and size are important for aesthetic reasons more than health reasons.
While I do think that Mrs. Obama's new platform on children's BMI is a problem that needs tackling, we can't lose site of the fact that parent's must also take an active role in moderating their own BMIs.