Is your child getting enough exercise?
Obesity rates have more than doubled among children over the last 30 years. Nearly one-third of all children in the United States are overweight or obese. This is a serious health issue because it increases the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and asthma. Like adults, children need exercise. Children need at least an hour of physical activity every day.
Exercise helps children:
• Keep a healthy weight
• Sleep better at night (an added benefit for parents)
• Feel less stressed
• Feel more focused in school
• Build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints
• Builds self-esteem
As adults, our exercise tends to consist of going to the gym, for a walk, or attending an exercise class. However, children of course do not need to jump on a treadmill in order to get their daily exercise in.
• Physical activity can be increase by reducing nonphysical activities. Limit the use of electronic devices and encourage your children to play outside instead.
• Physical activity should be fun, so your child will continue to do it. Play a sport such as basketball, soccer, swimming, dancing etc. Games such as freeze tag or hide and seek are also fun ways to get them active.
• Have them play with other children. Playing with other children is not only fun for your child; it also increases physical activity rather than just playing alone or with an adult.
• Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep every night so they are ready for physical activity the next day.
• If your child is old enough sign them up for a sport they enjoy or sign them up for a club. Even if your child is under 3 years old there are many local “play groups” you can bring them to.
• Exercise as a family, go on family bike rides or walks. This allows you to spend time with each other and you’re whole family is getting their exercise in at the same time!
If you follow the steps above, mixed with healthy meals, you are decreasing your child’s risk of becoming obese or having other health problems. You can find out more at letmove.gov