With the childhood obesity rate at a staggering level, there is much research being targeted to help solve this problem before it becomes even more of a health epidemic. A new study looked at what is going on inside the home, focusing primarily on parental responsibility.
Research conducted by the medical advisory staff at the YMCA found that parents are not putting their kid’s health on the forefront. The YMCA gathered data by surveying more than 1,600 American parents with kids between the ages of 5 and 10. The results found that 58 percent of them spend less than four days a week playing outside. The surveyed parents indicated that they found it easier to have them in front of a television or a computer. With financial times being tough, parents also said that they needed to forgo their children’s extracurricular activities.
The U.S. Director of Chronic Disease and Prevention for the YMCA, Dr. Matt Longjohn, stated, "There are many small things that make it very difficult for families to get an hour of physical activity a day.Among the factors you could blame are technology, time and money.”
A prior study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average child is watching about three hours of television a day. The average kid also spends five-and-a-half hours on all screen media combined which includes TV, videos and DVDs, computer time outside of schoolwork, and video games.
Longjohn agreed that this is detrimental to kids getting the amount of physical activity needed. "Parents need to get creative on setting limits on screen time," he said. "That means putting their family into environments that create those opportunities for physical activity." Fun games in the backyard, such as an obstacle course, will help encourage kids to exercise and have fun.
As mentioned above, there is thankfully a lot of attention being paid to the childhood obesity epidemic. "National initiatives such as the First Lady's campaign have brought awareness to this effort and community efforts have started to change the conversations in living rooms," Longjohn said.