Keeping Your Child Active and Healthy
The rise in child obesity in the United States is very alarming. Children who are overweight suffer short-term and long-term consequences that can affect their health and overall happiness. For example, according to the CDC, obese children are much more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and are at higher risk for many types of cancer as adults. Short-term effects include poor self-esteem and a higher risk for joint and bone injuries.
How can Parents Help?
Parents need to be aware of ways they can work with their child to help ensure their child is healthy and happy. There are many ways you can get your child moving, but every single way requires parents to be aware of the problem and willing to address it.
If you are the parent of an overweight or obese child, you may be hesitant to bring up the subject at home. But there are ways of encouraging healthy habits without making your child feel bad about his or herself. Look for healthy and fun activities you can do as a family. Encourage everyone in the family to participate in a healthier lifestyle. You can also bring in the help of a family doctor or lifestyle coach to add extra positive encouragement.
Exercising more as a Family
Many parents believe that their children should be playing an organized sport to keep them healthy. Not all children enjoy organized sports or thrive in a competitive setting. Work with your child to find a physical activity that you know your child is going to enjoy. This may mean that they love dancing or martial arts. No matter what the physical activity is, encourage them to pursue this interest. Allowing your kids to do this is a great opportunity and exercise for kids.
Whenever you want your child to get out and start playing, do not be afraid to join the game. Doing something with your child is a great way to ensure that your child is going to participate in the activity. You can go for a family hike or a family bike ride. Increasing the amount of time you spend together walking and moving is a great way to keep your child healthy and allows great exercises for kids.
Avoiding and Limiting Unhealthy Habits
Limiting the amount of time your child spends in front of any screen is a great way to ensure healthy children. Make sure that you stick with the limits and that there are consequences for not following the rules. Your child has to understand how important it is to get away from the screens and start moving and being active.
Encourage Healthy Food and Drink Choices
High sugar, high fat, and pre-packaged junk food is one of the main culprits for America’s obesity epidemic. These types of foods are readily available to your children and often times can be hard for them to find a healthy alternative.
Of course, there are plenty of healthy food choices out there, you just need to make them more available in your home. The simple act of choosing one healthy alternative over an unhealthy one (picking an apple over a candy bar, a vegetable tray over a bag of chips) can have a powerful effect on your child’s health. While you’re unlikely to cut out all unhealthy foods and soda from your child’s diet, you can certainly make an impact on their daily choices.
No matter what you say to your child, you will want to lead by example. Make an effort to make healthy food choices yourself, and fill your cupboard and refrigerator up with natural and health-promoting foods and drinks. Switch to water over soda, and always have healthy snacks for your children and teenagers to eat throughout the day.
We hope you have enjoyed these tips on exercise and healthy children. Thanks for reading!