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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: How To Motivate Your Kids To Exercise

By HERWriter
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Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

Healthy, active parents often want the same for their children. But, parents have so much on their plate these days,that finding the time to encourage exercise takes a lot of effort. According to Parents.com it is important to start physical activity while your kids are young.

"When parents promote fitness as an important family value, preschoolers are more likely to remain active throughout childhood -- even as many of their peers turn to television shows and computer games," says Michelle May, MD, an advisor to the American Academy of Family Physicians' Americans in Motion fitness initiative.

"One in seven preschoolers is already overweight, and the number rises in the elementary- and middle-school years. Prevention begins at home."

A study reported by the Centers for Disease Control and as reported on ABC.com looked at the relationship of parents and kids being active together. Researcher Sarah L. Lee, PhD, looked at more than five thousand parent/child duos and their activity interactions.

Lee reports, “The good-news finding was that 78 percent of the parent-child pairings reported being active together at least once a week. The not-so-good news: 22 percent of the pairings reported no shared physical activity whatsoever.”

The CDC offers these recommendations for the types of fitness your child should be doing weekly:

“Aerobic activity should make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week. Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes. Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minute.”

KidsHealth.org says there is a lot to gain from regular physical activity for kids. Here are their guidelines for encouraging kids to get moving:

1. Choosing the right activities for a child's age: If you don't, the child may be bored or frustrated.

2. Giving kids plenty of opportunity to be active: Kids need parents to make activity easy by providing equipment and taking them to playgrounds and other active spots.

3. Keeping the focus on fun: Kids won't do something they don't enjoy.

Still some kids are harder to encourage then others. It is easy to get kids motivated if their athletically talented and exceed at physical activity.

But, not all kids are confident on the field or court. For those KidsHealth.org suggests “Free Play.”

“Free play can be very important for kids who don't play a team sport. What's free play? It's the activity kids get when they're left to their own devices, like shooting hoops, riding bikes, playing whiffleball, playing tag, jumping rope, or dancing.”

The site also encourages “other individual sports or other organized activities that can boost fitness, such as: swimming, horseback riding, dance classes, inline skating, cycling, cheerleading, skateboarding, hiking, golf, tennis, fencing, gymnastics, martial arts, yoga and other fitness classes, Ultimate Frisbee and running."


“Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Exercise – Parents.com.” Parents Healthy Kids, Healthy Families. Web 27 Sept. 2011.

“How to Get Your Kids to Exercise – ABC.go.com.” ABC News. Web 27 Sept. 2011.

“Keeping Kids Active - KidsHealth.org.” Kids Health Parent Nutrition Center. Web 27 Sept. 2011.


Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.

Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.

Reviewed September 27, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

It is a little difficult to motivate kids to exercise. I think the key to solve this problem is to arouse kids' interests to exercise. When they have fun in it, they will be more willing to do. I often take my kids to participate in activities and provide them with exercise devices and equipments like kick scooters and roller skates. My kids have a lot of fun. This my blog http://www.mini-kick-scooter.com and I plan to write more about kids' activity topics.

November 22, 2011 - 8:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great article and important subject. I wanted to let you know about an important new Web site for teen girls struggling with their weight but first and foremost just wanting to be teens. Life can be very difficult emotionally and physically for girls who feel different or isolated because of their weight. They need a fun, safe place to go to get the tools and encouragement they need. It's called fitsmi.com (www.fitsmi.com). If you have a teen girl in your life that you're worried about, check it out. fitsmi is really making a difference in their lives.

September 28, 2011 - 8:21am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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