In going to great lengths to help and protect our children, we often forget some of the small things we do daily can have the biggest benefits. Encouraging and participating in an active lifestyle with your child is one of those things. Childhood obesity has more than tripled over the last 30 years. More than 70% of adolescents who are obese remain obese in their adult life. Obesity can lead to many complications and place the child at a higher risk to develop liver disease, heart disease, joint issues and even asthma as they get older, not to mention the social and psychological effects. The best way to combat this trend with your children is to encourage and foster an active lifestyle from an early age.
Most children spend between 4-5 hours a day watching TV, playing video games or using the computer. Less than 25% of high school students take daily Phys Ed classes and more alarmingly, less than 10% of our youth participate in a daily PE class. That means that most American children lead completely sedentary lifestyles. By encouraging your children to be active just 60 minutes every day and monitoring their diet, you can make an impactful change on their overall health.
Every Little Thing Counts
There are many ways to do this and most of them are simple changes that will have long lasting positive effects. Whenever possible, walk instead of driving. Go for walks in the evening or take your child to local park or playground if possible. Have your children help with the simple chores around the house like washing the car, raking leaves, cleaning their room. Find what interests them and get involved. They are more likely to participate if you are doing it with them. Make daily activity part of your child’s routine. Check the health clubs in your area and see what kid activities they offer. Some health clubs are even installing and operating interactive and kid’s friendly gyms as well as a plethora of kid’s programs from swim lessons and aqua based activities to sports specific training and summer camps. If your children are interested in sports, find a rec council or program in your area and get them signed up. The most important thing is to get involved and be supportive. Encourage your child, praise them when they do well and pick them up when they don’t.
Make A Difference
There are many websites, organizations and programs out there that help encourage and promote a healthier and active lifestyle. They provide parents with many ideas and suggestions. Even groups like the NFL have begun promoting active lifestyle among youths. Take the time, do your research and use the resources. Get involved in your child’s life and make a positive change.