Childhood obesity has increased threefold since the 1960s, and the number of overweight children between the ages of six and eleven has gone up 30%. Youth in America are inactive for 75% of their waking hours and they only spend about 16% of their day on vigorous activity. Kids are replacing outdoor activities with computer games and television programs.
Type 2 diabetes has increased tenfold among children from 1982 to 1994. Seventy percent of children under 14 are at risk for developing diabetes. Ten percent of children between the ages of two and five are overweight. In addition, one out of every four teenagers runs the risk of becoming overweight.
Obesity now affects sixty percent of the adult population in America today. Children who are overweight have a greater risk of becoming overweight adults and face the possibility of stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease in their futures. Obesity contributes to approximately 300,000 deaths per year, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Overweight children also miss an average of three more school days per year due to illness than students who are not overweight.
Tips For A Healthier Lifestyle
Here are some suggestions for parents, trainers, teachers, and other concerned adults to help kids adapt to a healthier lifestyle. First of all, if we are expecting youth around us to eat healthy and exercise regularly, we must model that behavior ourselves.
Adults must also involve their children in at least sixty minutes of activity five to six days a week.
The following are suggested athletic activities for kids:
- Kid's aerobic fitness videos or CDs
- Martial arts
- Bike riding
- Jumping rope
It is also essential to participate with your child in whatever activities he or she pursues.
For further information, you may visit the websites that are included at the end of this article. Please also check the list of references for ideas on how to integrate fitness into kids' lifestyles in order to promote their health and wellbeing.
Libraries have many videos that present proper form, techniques, and rules for sports such as baseball, football, and soccer. Many bookstores such as Borders or Barnes and Noble and many websites such as Amazon.com and Half.com sell used and/or inexpensive videos for caregivers to purchase.
When performing exercise, be sure to include a short stretch session on muscles used in the activity and a general cool down. Dolpzine.com has excellent articles in these areas. Websites such as pecentral.com and kidsrunning.com offer free and inexpensive games and activities to incorporate fitness into your child's daily lifestyle.
Next, you need to find activities that not only focus on fitness and healthy lifestyles, but activities that are fun as well. Some of those activities could include children making their own food pyramids using newspaper ads from grocery stores. Let them shop with you and search food labels for the amount of fat, sodium, or calories contained in products, and allow them to discover and try new kinds of fruits and vegetables. Model healthy eating choices and other behaviors you want the teens and children to follow.
Allow the children to utilize their creativity by having them put on plays about nutrition using paper bags and scripts they have written themselves. Let children exercise their grammar skills by cutting out pictures from sports magazines and newspaper ads. Have the children identify verbs, nouns, and adjectives in the visual materials that are used.
Display the completed chart in a place of honor in their home or schoolroom. Check out healthy food websites mentioned at the end of this article to discover other ideas for healthy eating. Be sure to check my website (http://cchapan.tripod.com) to uncover additional ideas for putting fitness in your young person's daily life.
It is important to remember that we have a wonderful opportunity to influence the youth of tomorrow. By making healthy choices ourselves, we can help children and teenagers avoid many of the problems we encountered in our own lives, and thus increase the chances of them having bright and healthy futures.
Christina Lee Steele Chapan is an ACE certified personal trainer, who is beginning a new group called Fitness for Fun; which teaches children and teens to incorporate fitness and nutrition into their daily lives. In addition to attaining her ACE certification, she is also an elementary school teacher with a B.S. in Elementary Education, a minor in Biblical Studies from North Central University, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Development from Governors State University. She has been married for six years and is hoping to start a family in the future.
Listed below are some references for encouraging healthy lifestyles. If you would like more information, be sure to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and Fitness Videos
Fit to Be, Kellogg's, 1989
Fun House Fitness
Swamp Stomp, Warner Home Video, 1990
The Fun House Funk, Warner Home Video, 1990
Chicken Fat: The Youth Fitness Video, Kimbo Educational, 1996
Human Body Sites:
Hearing, Seeing - http://www.hhmi.org/senses/
Physical Fitness Sites:
P.E. Games - http://members.tripod.com/~PhysEd/activities.htm
Games Kids Play - http://www.gameskidsplay.net/
Fun Games - http://www.funattic.com/game_list.htm
Kids Running - http://www.kidsrunning.com/
P.E. central - http://pecentral.com
American Council on Exercise - http://www.ace.org
Food and Cooking Sites:
Food Unit and Literature Unit - http://www.libsci.sc.edu/miller/fruitveg.htm
Food Unit 2 - http://abcteach.com/directory/theme_units/science/food_and_nutrition_theme_unit/
Dairy Council of CA - http://www.dairycouncilofca.org/activities/pyra_main.htm
Food Timeline - http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/food.html