We don’t need any more reports to tell us that our kids are getting fatter all the time. All we have to do is look around. With the advancement of video games, phones and social media, children and teens are tempted to stay inside and stare at screens while eating snacks.
Inactivity and poor eating habits are key factors as to why our children are becoming so fat.
The CDC has reported that “childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years” and has also stated that “ In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.”
We have got to get our children eating better foods, making better choices, and moving their bodies more. We have to stop making excuses.
There are lots of ways to keep kids active. Here are five of them:
Ever do the gardening and find, the next day, that you’re aching in places you never thought you had? Forty-five minutes of gardening is great exercise, and kids love it. Digging, weeding, planting and watering are a lot of fun for children.
Watching their veggies, fruits and flowers grow gives children a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’ll also encourage them to eat the produce they created.
If you don’t have your own place to garden, go to a community garden. Most towns and cities have them.
Have your kids rake leaves in the fall and help with snow removal in winter. Make these outdoor chores something they do at least twice a week. They’ll get out of the house, into the fresh air and move their bodies consistently.
Walking is the easiest form of activity. It’s free, and it firms up the body, burns calories and brings kids outdoors. You can also do it indoors by taking the stairs, and using indoor walking tracks in winter.
The Mayo Clinic agrees that walking is a great form of exercise. The more you walk, the more you can benefit. Going for brisk walks regularly can help you to:
- Develop better coordination and balance
- Improve mood
- Keep your bones strong or make them stronger
- Prevent or maintain control over type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions
- Stay at a healthy weight
Start off slowly with your kids and build up. Change routes to make things interesting. These times are also great times to keep the lines of communication open with your children. The whole family will be strengthened by the kind of mental and physical benefits that brisk walking can bring.
3) Turn Your Children into Water Babies
All children should be able to swim. It’s a basic life skill that every child should know. Involve them in lessons and show them the pleasure of being in water. Encourage them to join a swim team.
There are other active ways to enjoy water, too, like rowing or sailing. These are sports that can give them a good workout. There’s no place for phones and videogames in water, and they will enjoy being with children their own age.
)4 School Sports
School is back in for many, and coming soon for everyone else! While their academic studies are top priorities, sports and physical activity are also important. There are so many sports to choose from in school, from tennis to lacrosse, football, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, cheer leading, swim team, running, and the list goes on.
Have your child pick one interest. Even if he or she claims no desire to take part in any kind of sport, tell them they have to give one a try, for at least one semester. They may surprise themselves and love it.
These school sports are generally practised or played several times a week, giving your children consistent exercise and encouraging character-building by being in a team sport. It’ll also help them make friends and have fond memories to look back on.
5) Use the Technology You’re Trying to Keep Your Kids From!
So our children’s incessant use of technology is one of the reasons for their inactivity. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
Kids love anything new and connected to the tech world. Giving all the kids pedometers will help them to know how active they are being and to get in their 10,000 steps every day. Let them compete as to who gets the most steps, it’ll make it more interesting.
While we don’t want to focus too much on body size, the pedometers often show calories burned and other ways to know how your body is working. That includes monitoring sleep, which is so crucial to overall health.
Our children deserve to grow up in the best of health, and as parents, it’s our responsibility to make sure they eat well and stay active.
By limiting TV and video game time, and encouraging our kids to partake in exercise and sports, we give them the tools they’ll need to remain active adults who make healthy food choices. No matter what age your child is, it’s never too late to start.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adolescent and School Health. Childhood Obesity Facts. Web. Retrieved August 16th, 2015.
The Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Fitness. In-depth. “Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health”. Web. Retrieved August 16th, 2015.
Reviewed August 20, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith