What Parents Can Do to Raise Healthier Kids
There’s no question that childhood obesity is becoming one of the greatest health crises of the 21st century. The number of kids who are overweight and obese has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
Being overweight at an early age increases the risk for various chronic diseases earlier in life. Nearly 70 percent of obese 5- to 17-year-olds already have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, according to the CDC. Obesity can also impact a child or teen’s social competence, emotional well-being and self-esteem.
So what can you do as a parent to help?
One of the best ways to combat childhood obesity is to make sure kids are physical active on a regular basis. But when it comes to physical activity, we’re losing our kids somewhere between the sandbox and the Xbox. Many parents today feel powerless when pitted against the lure of technology and media, but you’re not powerless when it comes to motivating your kids. Your encouragement and participation can set kids on the path towards a lifetime of better health.
Here’s how to motivate your kids to move more:
- Find something enjoyable. Physical activity comes in many forms, from dance and karate to swimming and gymnastics. Help your kids find something they like to do.
- Set realistic goals. Encourage kids to be more active just 2 – 3 days a week to start. If kids feel a goal is achievable, they are more likely to stick with it.
- Make it fun. Turn activity into a game instead of making exercise seem like a chore. Tag, anyone?
- Do it together. Plan weekend family outings that include physical activity, such as hikes, ice skating, tennis or flying a kite in the park.
- Get and stay involved. Make sure your kids know how much you support their athletic endeavors. This is even more important than being a role model, some studies say.
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Date Last Reviewed: July 20, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Julie Halvorsen, DO, FAAP