Everyone has heard that the national obesity rate is becoming an epidemic of huge proportions, but is that trend only among adults, or are children affected as well? It only takes looking around a school yard to find the answer to that question. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), there are approximately 12.5 million children ages 2 - 19 in the United States who are obese (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/data.html). Children who are obese have a higher rate of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, gastro-esophageal reflux, and joint problems, and they have a higher possibility of becoming obese adults.
Exercise With Your Child Week is the perfect time to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity. During this week parents are encouraged to spend time with their children exercising and learning healthier ways to eat. “I don’t have time” you say? Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Eat dinner together as a family. Studies have shown that families who eat together are more in tune with each other and tend to eat healthier.
- Set limits on television, computer, and video game time.
- Encourage your child to join a sports team, either through your local school or a local gym. Even a weekend team put together by neighborhood children can be very beneficial.
- Do you have a WII? Make up your MII’s and have a contest. Whoever exercises the most in a week’s time gets to plan the activities for the weekend.
- Are you close to a park? Go to the park and spend 30 minutes playing on the swings, or the see-saw, or just walking
- Play catch in the yard.
- Take a bike ride together
- Visit the zoo
- Go to a local spot for fun
- Like to swim? How about a family trip to the pool or a lake
Exercising with your children doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. As little as 10 minutes a day can create a closer, healthier family. Try it for a week and let me know how it goes!
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