September is National Childhood Obesity Month, an opportunity to learn more about steps to help keep kids healthy now and into the future. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent of kids in the U.S. are affected by obesity, which can lead to health issues like diabetes, asthma, depression and more. While the situation is serious, it is possible to prevent and address obesity among kids by making changes as a family that promote good health for everyone.
One of the more effective ways to control and maintain a healthy weight is through regular physical activity. Yet this does not mean the whole family must suddenly go running or join a gym.
There are many fun activities that can be worked into your regular routine to get everyone moving more consistently and reaping the health benefits, such as riding bikes, playing tag, jumping rope, roller skating, or any other activity your child enjoys. Reduce the amount of time your child is seated in one place by limiting TV, computer, video and tablet games, and other sedentary activities. Here are a few other ideas to get everyone moving:
- Write a list of activities with your family to do together.
- Schedule a regular time throughout the week for an activity, such as family walks each evening after dinner.
- Alternate selecting an activity so everyone has an opportunity to pick.
- Vary your activities for more healthy benefits.
- Encourage participation in sports or classes. Find opportunities for your children to try yoga or gymnastics or play soccer, baseball, softball, etc.
- Move around during commercials, play video or computer games standing up, or take a break to stretch or wiggle while using tablets.
- Plan destination adventures like hiking, snow tubing, or miniature golf in new places on weekends or during vacation to make it more exciting.
Most importantly, you are a role model for the kids in your life. Making a point of staying active will speak volumes and encourage kids to do the same. Participating in activities together makes them more fun and gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family, improving both physical and emotional health.