America is in the grips of an epidemic. Its not measles, malaria, or influenza… its obesity. More than two thirds of Americans are obese, making them the heavy-weights of the world.
This isn’t just a problem for adults however, over 30% of kids in the U.S. struggle with weight and staying fit as well. These numbers have nearly tripled since 1986. revealing that over 9 million American kids over the age of 6 are considered obese with poor fitness habits.
Obesity is a preventable disease. With the right combination of diet, exercise and support, kids can be helped to overcome this problem before it worsens in their adult years.
According to the U.S.National Library of Medicine, most children need at least one hour of exercise a day. This activity will help a child stay fit and
- Feel less stressed
- Have better self-esteem
- Perform better in school
- Maintain healthy weight levels
- Improve muscles, joints and bones
- Promote better sleep patterns
Today’s kids have access to all kinds of technology like computers, video games and TV. As a result, exercise, or physical activity in general can sometimes be ignored. Parents should try to monitor their children’s time spent on such devices.
Diet has a major influence of course on obesity and other health related problems. Fast food is unfortunately a common option for the busy parent. The kids love it, its fairly cheap and its easy. Too much of anything good is usually bad though. “You gonna eat that cheeseburger?”
Maybe people are starting to recognize this however. McDonald’s reported a 10% decrease in sales and revenue last month. That could be because little man here went on a diet!
Team sports are a great way for kid’s to interact and build their skills, both physically and socially. But not all kids are interested in joining a team right?
There are many different activities that a child can be introduced to that will help ensure a degree of fitness, while still allowing the child to feel comfortable.
Walking, yoga, pilates, tai chi, and weight training are just a few options. The earlier you introduce your child to exercise and fitness concepts, the more likely he/she will do it.
Of course it is always better for the adults to lead by example. If the kids see us eating right and exercising, they will be more likely to do it as well. Try to set time out a few times a week to do something physical with your child. It doesn’t have to be vigorous, or necessarily challenging, but anything is better than nothing and it will be something everyone will benefit from in more ways than one.
Our children are our future. They will have plenty of concerns and issues to deal with as they mature, health complications due to obesity shouldn’t be one of them.