Monday, September 12, 2011

The Fight Against Childhood Obesity: Tips for Fighting Back

Submitted by Sarah Morris on behalf of Primrose Schools, offering preschool programs with The Right Foundation to Build Active Minds, Healthy Bodies, and Happy Hearts®

With childhood obesity on the rise, experts suggest that young children need to accumulate at least 60 minutes and up to several hours of physical activity every day. Unfortunately, many children are not nearly as active as they need to be. It is clear that along with poor diet, the rise of video games and physical inactivity has contributed to a large increase in childhood obesity in the United States in the past 20 years. The following statistics are unsettling:
  • Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese nationwide.
    (Source: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
  • The percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states. (Source: Trust for America's Health)

Research has shown that children who develop basic motor skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, jumping, skipping, and balance are more likely to grow into healthy active adults. Studies have shown that daily physical activity helps children academically as well. Learning basic physical skills is essential to the healthy growth and development of your child.

So, what can parents do to teach their children about the importance of being physically active and help them learn these necessary skills? Trying the tips below will help you and your family to create a fun environment for physical activity and will contribute to everyone’s physical health.

Tips for Getting Your Family Active:
  1. Find a place such as a park the backyard, the driveway, a gymnasium, or some place that you all can go.
  2. Provide several supplies of balls, hoops, hockey sticks, bats, paddles, racquets, musical instruments, jump ropes, etc. This will give them an option of what they want to choose.
  3. Equipment should be soft, lightweight, and made for children.
  4. Do it with them! Don’t just tell them to go outside and do it by themselves, teach them; show them how to do it. It’ll strengthen your bond with them and provide you with a workout as well.
Game Ideas:
  • Use sidewalk chalk to create your own four-square or hopscotch grids.
  • Play a game of hide and seek or tag.
  • Go on a walk or a bike ride around the neighborhood or if near a park walk or bike ride to there.
  • Go swimming in a local park pool or your own. If not a pool get a slip and slide from a store or make your own or just set up a sprinkler.
  • Always cheer for them and praise them for what they do good, because if they know their good at something or feel that their good at something most likely they’ll want to continue to do it over and over again.
  • Or just keep it simple and play a sport that they like to watch.
  • With video games being so popular as they are, observe some of their games see what they’re like and then re-create them outside. For instance a shooter game could be used outside with “nerf” guns.

Times have changed. Children used to go outside and play tag, hide and seek, basketball, baseball, football, or soccer until the street lights turned on. This doesn’t happen as much as it used to as children now would rather stay inside and watch television or turn on a video game or update Facebook. Make an effort to get outside with your children and play and, most of all, have fun.

How do you keep your family active?

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