Exercise for Kids: How to decrease sedentary childhood rates

We’ve already discussed the disgusting statistics of overweight kids in the US, now we’ll look at activity levels. Kids nowadays have access to a variety of media entertainment (t.v., computers, iPods, even phones, kids keep getting cell phones younger and younger, so they now spend time texting). Oh yeah we can’t forget video games. With all these possible activities, is it likely that kids are going to chose to go outside and do something? I think not. Kids spend an average of 3-51/2 hours with media entertainment, which increases to 6 hours for teens. How are they supposed to be getting their required daily amount of physical activity with all this t.v. time and school? They’re not! Less than one third of kids get the minimum amount of physical activity during the week, and this drops to only 17 % on the weekend. They’re not getting enough activity in school either, only 10% of schools offer daily physical activity. All these sedentary kids are setting themselves up for health risks. They usual weigh more, have higher blood pressure, and lower levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. In addition sedentary children are more likely to become sedentary adults. What can be done to counteract these sedentary lifestyles? Sports are always one option. They’re a great way to interact with other kids and for a friendly dose of competition, plus there are so many sports that kids can try until they find one that works for them. Activity doesn’t have to be organized though it can be as simple as a bike ride or skateboarding (X Games and extreme sports are pretty popular). Try a simple game of tag or make it a family affair and take a hike or go to the a play ultimate frisbee or some slow pitch. There are so many options and it doesn’t have to feel like they’re working out, it can be play (which we’ve talked about several times- July 4). The option are limitless! Just get them outside, they’ll get vitamin D, plus studies have shown the benefits of being outdoors on mood. So you’ll have a happier healthier kid. Limit the t.v. time and get outside with them.

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