In the years past, needing a “fitness routine” for a child seemed almost laughable. Children used to spend a majority of their time outdoors playing, and riding bikes. Nowadays kids’ outdoor time is often limited to organized sports, and a large amount of time is spent indoors on less active activities. Sadly this is coming with hefty consequences.
The American Heart Association estimates 1 out of every 3 children are overweight or obese, with an estimated 80% remaining that way to adulthood. These children are being faced with health issues that were previously only known to affect adults. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease are becoming more prevalent in children. Not to mention the emotional affects obesity can have on children.
The best way to encourage children to eat right and get exercise is by setting a good example. It is very hard for a 10 year old to take health advice from someone eating Domino’s and watching ESPN. Make eating healthy and getting regular exercise a family involved goal.
Television viewing is a major problem. Most children are spending a majority of their time away from school in front of the TV watching shows, or playing video games. Not only are they missing out on needed activity but also on many necessary social skills.
Organized sports are a great way to get in some extra activity, but beware this is not a substitute for outdoor free play. Many parents are convinced their children get enough activity because of their participation in organized sports. However, the 1-2 hours a week is not nearly enough activity for a child. It is recommended that children need an average of at least an hour of activity a day.
Along with getting enough physical activity, making sure your child eats healthy is an important part of having a fit kid. A diet that consists of organic lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and plenty of water is recommended. Also, avoiding saturated fats, refined sugar, soda, and any prepackaged foods are equally important.
Although it may be hard to convince your child to eat healthy, education in what is healthy for them and why can go a long way in taming the battle. Also, adapting the healthy eating for the entire family, not just singling out a particular child, is an important step in creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime.