Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pilates For PreSchool?

It's just unbelieveable, and I just knew that Junk Food Science would "weigh in" on this one.

The Brits are getting so paranoid over childhood obesity that the Daily Mail filed this report which speaks about how parents of 4 month olds are subscribing their children to gyms and grandparents are buying gym memberships as holiday gifts.

Here is the report:
Parents are taking babies as young as four months to special gyms amid growing fears about childhood obesity.

A US chain has signed up hundreds of babies and toddlers across London for "developmental gymnastics".

Demand for places has surged as government figures reveal one in five London children under 11 is obese.

A new centre in Chiswick has registered almost 500 children since September - including 150 babies under three - and two more gyms are due to open in Chelsea and Hampstead.

Grandparents are even buying their grandchildren membership of the gyms as a Christmas present.

Tracie Silk, owner of the new Little Gym in Chiswick, already runs packed classes for 10-month-old babies and will start teaching four-month-olds in February.

She said: "We have had an unbelievable response from people wanting to bring babies under 10months along.

"We were taken completely by surprise when we opened."

The Little Gym says its £300-a-term classes for four-month-olds upwards, based on gymnastics and including forward rolls, build up babies' core body strength before they start crawling.

Classes for children up to 12 also include "galloping" and monkey jumps to get them in the habit of exercise.

Parents accompany children up to three years old, helping them to "walk" along a beam, do forward rolls and use balancing bars.

Angela Hinman, gym director at the Hampton Hill centre, said: "Parents are always surprised at how physical it is for the young babies. We get them to do forward rolls before they can crawl - with their parents' help. The concept is about making movement fun."

Experts say there is little point in targeting babies as young as four months.

Professor Tim Cole, paediatrician at the Institute of Child Health at University College London, said: "I would be very skeptical about attempting to get four-month-olds to do exercise, they are not even crawling then."
Next thing you know they'll be doing Pilates or holding preschool Zumba classes!

Admittedly, this is more likely an article to promote these types of gyms and their memberships, but honestly what is so totally dopey about this is that children naturally want to move. Parents expend lots of energy themselves chasing after them! Let kids loose in a playground and they climb and run and ... well .. play! Babies crawl all over the place if you let them. That's their innate desire to explore and work hard at learning to stand and crawl and walk and climb. No one has to teach them how to tumble or stretch. What is with these people who think that they have to somehow accelerate the pace at which children develop. Worse than that, are parents who are being driven nuts by the media and marketing that pushes them to spend money on programs like this. But if these parents can be coaxed into parting with their money to do this type of thing then... well... vive le capitalism.

Do yourself a favor British parents, take your kids out to a public park, get some fresh air, feed the ducks, and let your kids be kids.