It’s a fact: Childhood obesity is on the rise.
In the past decade alone, adolescent obesity has become a top concern among parents in the United States. This is no surprise as the number of overweight children in the U.S. has more than tripled since 1971. According to the State of Obesity, nearly one third of children ages 10-17 are obese.
Physical effects of obesity include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and elevated blood cholesterol levels. Yet, psychological harms are just as profound: Obese children are much more likely to experience low-self esteem, poor body image, and depression than those who a maintain healthy weight.
It’s also important to note that 14% of obese children are enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) and receive federal funding for food and shelter. This statistic indicates that children in low-income families are especially vulnerable to being overweight. At the same time, federal funding doesn't effectively promote healthy food options as available grocery stipends aren’t sufficient to provide for enough nutritious food. Without nutritional choices, children often need more exercise in order to maintain healthy weights. This can pose yet another problem: Children’s fitness programs and at-home workout equipment can be expensive. Kids are also pressed for time and often stressed out at school.
What Can You Do?
To help address the childhood obesity epidemic, you can teach kids yoga!
Not only can you teach in schools, but yoga can be done at home and in a short amount of time - making it an accessible and affordable form of physical activity for children. According to the American Osteopathic Association, the many physical benefits of yoga include increased flexibility and muscle strength, better energy, circulatory health, and most importantly, weight reduction and healthy weight management.
But there’s more. Meditation and yogic breathing can improve children’s mental health by fostering a relaxing environment and providing tools for kids to effectively manage stress. In fact, the American Osteopathic Association explains that stress is damaging to both the body and mind - causing pain, sleeping problems, and an inability to concentrate.
"Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate,” stated Natalie Nevins, DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California.
Yoga, in turn, “can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life,” said Nevins on the American Osteopathic Association website.
“Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention, and sharpens concentration," stated Nevins.
Pretzel Kids plays an important role in bringing yoga to children by providing online kids yoga certification courses, live trainings and workshops, classes, and blog posts covering health, nutrition, and overall well-being. Indeed, Pretzel Kids gives YOU the ability to train to teach kids yoga - from anywhere you want! Not only that, but once certified to teach the Pretzel Kids curriculum, you can immediately share your yoga knowledge with children.
The Pretzel Kids methodology mixes traditional poses with our own fun posture names. This summer, some of the kids' favorite Pretzel Kids poses include beach-themed postures like lifeguard, crab, starfish, and surfer. Our curriculum also teaches you how to lead interactive games to encourage children to lead healthy lifestyles. Want to learn more? Give us a call! We love to talk about yoga and Pretzel Kids!
Who can take the training? Teachers, moms, nannies - adults of all ages and abilities. Yup, just about anyone with an interest in yoga, health, wellness and children can take the Pretzel Kids course! Older teens are also encouraged to become certified to teach the Pretzel Kids curriculum. Let’s all promote health together!
Sarah Scribner is a content writer and social media intern at Pretzel Kids