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Kids Need to Move

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I think the most shocking piece of information that was given at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conference was how this generation of children will be the first to not out live their parents.

This is for one reason and one reason only -- lifestyle. Let's face it, the children of today do not move. Technology has taken over their physical play. Television, video games, computers, cell phones, etc. have gained their interests and parents are not monitoring their time and basically not encouraging exercise and physical activity.

Another big reason for this is our children's eating habits. Drive past any fast food restaurant during lunch time and notice how many cars there are. Parents don't want to cook and take-out is easy and convenient. If they do cook it's high fat processed foods that have hardly any nutritional value.

Because of this lifestyle our children are obese, out of shape, and unhealthy. It's leading to Type 2 Diabetes, heart problems and chronic diseases which will shorten their life span. I don't know about you, but this is scary. Who will be our firemen, our police officers, or other critical jobs? Most police academies have already had to lower their standards to be a police officer because they can not find enough people who can pass the physcial fitness requirements. This is not good! So, what can we do?

* Get our kids moving. Sign them up for fun social physical sports. Make outside play fun by playing tag, hide and go seek, or other fun games that you liked to play as a kid. Take nature walks or fun bike rides. Get them moving. Just be creative and find a way.

* Limit their television, computer, games, etc. time to a total of one hour a day. They may not like it, but what is more important, their health or computer time?

* Cut eating out as much as you can. Fill your refrigerator with fruits, vegetables, yogurts, and other healthy snacks that are low in sugar. You can make quick meals that are healthy and easy. How hard is it to boil some spaghetti, brown some turkey meat and put a little pasta sauce on it. Pretty easy! Find and research other healthy recipes that are quick and easy. I have a crock pot and I throw in some chicken breast, vegetables and seasonings and let it cook all day. When I get home dinner is ready.

* Teach your kids about good health and be a role model. Exercise and eat right yourself and your kids will model that.

We have to do something and it starts right here, right now with you as a parent. Depending on your children's age, you have the ability to control what they eat and how active they are during their day. Make sure your child grows up to be healthy and strong! Click Here for a great article by the Environmental Health Perspectives regarding childhood obesity.


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EmpowHER Guest

Lara, thanks for this post! As a children's physical activity specialist, I've become more and more frustrated by how little children move!

It truly is up to parents to turn this crisis around. As you said, they have to decide what's most important for their children. Health should be at the top of the list!

One cautionary note: Parents too often make the mistake of believing that enrolling a child in organized sports adequately addresses the physical activity issue. But these organized programs often involve more waiting (i.e., sitting on the bench, hanging around in right field) than moving! So they'll definitely want to pursue some of the other wonderful suggestions you offer in your first bullet!

April 9, 2009 - 10:43am
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