Our modern day culture is taking its toll on the future of our children. A daily routine of leisure time comprised mostly of sedentary activities such as watching television, using the computer, and playing video games has lead to a childhood obesity epidemic. In the last 30 years childhood obesity has almost tripled. Currently more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.
Children who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for:
· cardiovascular disease
· bone and joint problems
· sleep apnea
· social and psychological problems
· becoming obese as adults
Adults who are obese are at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Obesity in children and adolescents is mostly a result of a lack of physical activity in conjunction with unhealthy eating patterns resulting in a “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. Below are some recommendations from child health and fitness trainer, Heather Hackett, on how to get your kids more active.
Tips to Increase Kids Physical Activity
1. Be Active as a Family
Play outside, go for a walk, play with pets, go to the park, play catch.
2. Establish a Routine
Set aside time each day for physical activity. Kids need 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
3. Have an Activity Party
Plan activities with other families and kids to increase the fun such as baseball games, skating, bowling, backyard Olympics, and relay races.
4. Set up a Home Gym.
Use household items such as canned foods as weights, stairs and jump ropes for cardio.
5. Get Moving
Get up and walk during commercials breaks or while talking on the phone.
6. Limit TV and Computer Time
Get kids to find other physical activities to occupy their time.
7. Reward Children with Activities
Instead of using sweets as rewards, give gifts that encourage physical activity.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Heather Hackett, I Train Your Kids