The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

October 2, 2013

Keep kids on the move

You and your siblings snickered when your parents told you stories about having to walk three miles a day to school through a raging blizzard. You had no idea the challenge you would face many years later shooing your own kids off the couch.    

Physical inactivity is a major health hazard in this country, contributing to a dramatic rise in the incidence of obesity and associated problems, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity. Despite your parents’ complaints, you had no problem at all getting that much activity — walking or biking to school, daily PE classes, after-school dances, swimming, shooting hoops in the backyard.     

With television, cellphones, iPads, video games, Facebook and Twitter, young people today can travel all around the world without getting out of the chair. The average American child, age 8 to 18, spends three to four hours a day watching television and even more when other screen activity (computers, video games, DVDs) are included.    

Physically inactive kids gain weight and, if they gain enough, develop health problems. The incidence of Type 2 diabetes, once seen mostly in middle-aged and older adults, has quadrupled among American children.    

What can you do to reverse this trend? You know how effective your parents were when they lectured or preached at you. However, there are strategies that work.    

ATTACK INACTIVITY FIRST: Even without prodding, most youngsters will find active things to do once the distraction of the TV or computer screen is removed.    

Most pediatricians recommend setting up a screen-time budget with kids. Discuss the issue with them and negotiate a reasonable number of hours per week. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends one to two hours or less daily of media time, a rule that might have to be implemented gradually for kids who are used to spending five hours or more online or watching TV.    

SET A GOOD EXAMPLE: The same medical groups that recommend 60 minutes a day of physical activity for kids advise adults to get at least 30 minutes a day. It’s for your health, but your kids will benefit by having a positive role model.     

Rob goes to the YMCA early every morning for a vigorous 30-minute swim. He invited his son to join him, and soon they were both committed to lap swimming — counting and timing their laps.    

SCHEDULE ACTIVE FAMILY OUTINGS: Families that play together, stay healthy together. Take a walk together after dinner; schedule a 10-mile bicycle trip for Saturday. All of these activities, including your vacations, can be planned together as a family. Kids will understandably resist if they feel activities or schedules are imposed upon them. Ask them where they’d like to go, what they’d like to do. Then work together to find activities that everyone in the family will enjoy.    

ENCOURAGE TEAM SPORTS: At all ages and skill levels, youth sports leagues are available in most communities    

Kids who participate in these leagues gain skills of leadership, teamwork and strategy as well as fitness and coordination. Maybe most important, a young competitive athlete usually finds she has little time to sit in front of a TV set.    

Show that you take your child’s sports activity seriously by coming to games and cheering them on.

RESPECT YOUR CHILD’S FEELINGS: Children may resist certain activities or sports if they feel self conscious about being overweight or not very good at sports. Be sensitive to their feelings and don’t embarrass them.    

When you were in junior high and high school, your physical education teacher made sure you had a well-rounded fitness program. Today, many schools are cutting back on or even eliminating PE requirements. Keep in touch with your school board to make sure this doesn’t happen in your school district.

Physical activity sharpens the mind and can have an effect on mood and enthusiasm for learning. Even more important, it keeps cardiovascular circulation strong, builds bones and muscles and improves metabolism. Don’t let your children miss out on these benefits.

Rupp is a certified information and referral specialist on aging for NODA Area Agency on Aging. Contact her at 237-2236.

Text Only
Enid Features
Featured Ads
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
House Ads