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The Daily Tonic: Our Kids Face A Flabby Future

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

So maybe you haven’t noticed, but temperatures have been getting toastier recently. And according to the experts, that trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. According to this recent study, things are going to get real hot over the next 30 years. 

How hot exactly? Well if the models proposed by researchers end up playing out as expected, some residents in the extreme heat belt spanning from Texas up to Illinois could see regular heat waves reaching highs over 125 degrees. The modeling in this specific study also showed that heat waves will last longer than they do now. Great…  

So how does this tie into our health exactly? Well, it just so happens that rising temperatures outside are forcing us to spend more time inside, and that isn’t exactly ideal. According to a recent study, children today are about 30% less aerobically fit than their parents were at their same age. 

This lack of aerobic fitness means that the kids of today will be less prepared to acclimate to a hotter, more extreme climate tomorrow. The problem gets even more complicated once you start thinking about the vicious cycle this creates. 

You see, as temperatures get hotter, children are less likely to spend time outside getting in the necessary physical activity for optimal health. This leads to poor cardiovascular health, which makes it harder for kids to spend time outside in the heat, which leads to more time inside and a more sedentary lifestyle… and so the cycle continues. 

According to a 2018 report that compared kids’ activity levels across 49 countries, only 39% (or less) of children in most of those countries were getting adequate physical activity. That is less than half! 

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Combine that with rising obesity and prediabetes rates in children and the future outlook for the health of our society starts to look pretty grim. 

Now of course, there are many other factors to blame when it comes to the health of our future generations. Highly processed foods are heavily marketed directly to children, screen time is becoming a bigger problem as social media and access to electronic devices becomes more widespread at younger ages, and don’t forget the impact that school closures and canceled extracurricular activities have had on kids over the past two years. 

It’s all a recipe for disaster when it comes to the health of our future generations. 

The key takeaway? It is not all doom and gloom, though. While temperatures might be getting hotter and kids might be getting more sedentary, the bright side here is that kids have time. As educated parents and older generations, we still have so much time to help our youth turn things around. 

We can get creative with ways to get our kids moving regardless of the temperature. We can encourage healthy eating and serve as an inspiration by eating that way ourselves as well as prioritizing daily movement. 

All these forecasts might seem grim, but if we start turning things around today, we can make a huge impact on our health and the health of our families tomorrow.

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