You may have heard there are more overweight and obese children in the United States than ever recorded. The cultural causes of this national dilemma are complex but it comes down to some simple math: Your children are consuming a lot more calories than they expend.
To avoid childhood obesity, we need to change the quantity and the quality of calories that go into our youngsters’ daily diets. We also need to help them get enough daily physical activity.
All young people, of all sizes and ages, need to get moving! Here are some practical, simple suggestions that will help:
Get at Least 60 Minutes of Activity Each Day
This is the goal for young people but you also need to be a good role model and be active yourself. Go for a bike ride or a walk together. Plan active family outings. A trip to the movies or the mall doesn’t count. Walk down to the local park, tour the neighborhood on bicycles, build a snowman or go to the zoo.
Guide Kids to Find an Activity They Enjoy
Encourage your kids and teens to participate in sports for fun. If sports aren’t their thing, try a dance or a swim class, marshal arts, Zumba, jumping rope, yoga…anything! Today, we have more opportunities for beneficial exercise for people of every skill level and interest than ever before.
Give Presents that Encourage Activity
Nothing is worse than a present that encourages a young person to sit and veg-out. Forget yet another battery operated riding toy and tablets. Instead, give your child a basketball, tennis racket or a soccer ball–a new bike even. Don’t give a teenager a new video or computer game. Try a Frisbee or a snowboard.
Limit TV and Video/Computer Time
It is a cliché, but the truth is, these things suck-up way too much of our children’s time and energy. Don’t just yell, “Put down that XBOX!” (which you probably bought them) but be prepared with a fun and beneficial alternative.
Help our young people to get up and get moving. They’ll have fun while building healthy and happy bodies. You may too!