It’s no secret that obesity is an epidemic in the United States, but perhaps the most frightening aspect of that statement is how it applies to children and teens. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control now states that at least 1 in 3 children and teens in the U.S. is overweight or obese.
The causes of this epidemic are many, but the main culprits are a more sedentary lifestyle and diets consisting of more processed foods. There are many other contributing factors, however, and for each family struggling with obesity their issues are unique and personal. Unfortunately, the fact remains that the health and physical fitness of children in the United States is poor, and that needs to change.
If you want to make some changes in your family’s lifestyle and exercise habits, and give your kids the gift of health in the process, read on to learn more about great ways to encourage physical activity in your kids.
Get the Gadgets
If you’re going to restrict your child’s computer time in favor of exercise then you might want to sweeten the deal. Apps for smart phones can encourage your kids to keep track of their fitness level, and they can share their progress with their friends on social media.
You can also consider a video game system that comes with exercise and fitness games. These can encourage your kids to get moving and you can join the fun, too.
Take a Class
Fitness classes for kids and teens are popping up at gyms all across the country, so take advantage of these opportunities. Yoga, spinning, and parkour can all inspire your kids to get moving and have fun in the process.
Other classes and lessons that might interest your kids are horseback riding, snowboarding, or cross country skiing. Find out what your child is interested in and make it happen.
Do Chores Together
We all know that it’s almost impossible to get kids to do chores without a fair amount of complaining, but there are ways to make it more fun. Arrange a race to see who can bring all of the laundry downstairs in the least time. Practice squats with your kids when you’re unloading the dishwasher. There are a number of ways to encourage your kids to help with chores and move more in the process.
Ditch the Car
If you live in an urban or suburban area, why not ditch your car sometimes? Take your kids along for a walk to the grocery store, and burn some calories carrying your groceries home. If your child’s school is nearby and you have the time, then walk with them to school and walk to pick them up. Not only does walking together burn calories but it also gives you a chance to talk with each other with no distractions.
Explore the Science
While some younger children might not understand the science and the health risks of obesity, your tweens and teens very much can. Make an appointment with your doctor so that he or she can explain some of the serious complications that can arise from obesity.
Encourage your child to do independent research, as well. The more they know about their condition the more active they might become in changing it.
Obesity in children is a serious medical condition, but it’s one that can be changed. Work with your healthcare provider and your kids to become a healthier and happier family.