JAMA Pediatrics, states, “Researchers measured height and hip size to assess body fat in about 600 children when they were 8 to 10 years old, and again two years later. They found every 1 percent of additional body fat at the start of the study was linked to a 3 percent decline in sensitivity to the hormone insulin, a shift that can allow excess sugar to build up in the blood and lead to diabetes.” “Our findings suggest that we should be encouraging children early on to be physically active, and that we should reduce their screen time, in order to favor a healthy body weight and better cardiometabolic health later on in life,” said lead study author Dr. Melanie Henderson of the University of Montreal. As the founder of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic, exercise facility working with children through senior citizens in the Washington, DC, area, I have seen firsthand the power of athletic training and exercise to maintain weight management and improve bone and joint health in all age groups. I believe that we, as parents and educators, need to focus on helping children adhere to healthy, active lifestyles and maintaining weight management. What can be done?
- Celebrate the beginning of spring and get moving! Schedule one afternoon a week for the family to do yard work together. Studies show that you can burn about 250 calories an hour mowing the lawn or 175 calories for 30 minutes of picking up sticks and weeding. Not only will you get a great workout, your yard will look great too.
- Focus on your kids’ health, not their weight. Adolescence is difficult enough for most children and self-esteem can suffer – especially if a child is heavier. Parents can help by making sure their kids are active and learn to make good food choices, in turn helping to maintain weight management.
- Make fitness fun! Fitness for kids doesn’t have to be sit-ups and sprints. Have fun as a family. Take your children with you and the family dog for a walk around block. Hit the basketball court for a friendly game of Horse (try parents versus kids). Unwind at the playground on the swings, monkey bars, or climbing walls. Remember, you, as a parent, are setting an example. If you have fun being fit, your kids will grow up learning that leading a healthy, active lifestyle is fun too.
Childhood obesity isn’t a problem that’s going to magically fix itself. Make a difference in your kids’ health and in their lives and get moving – as a family! Looking for a fun activity for the whole family (ages 5 – adult) while increasing fitness for kids? Join Fitness for Health every Friday night from 7pm – 9pm for Open Gym – where YOU rule the gym! Pretend you are on your own impossible mission and try to navigate our laser maze without breaking a laser beam! Chase lights and make them disappear on our Light Floor and Wall! Climb a rock wall or two! Jump to your heart’s content on our 30′ long trampoline and so much more! Or, do you want your tweens and teens to get off the couch? Concerned about their weight management? Searching for a physical activity where your children will have fun and want to keep coming back? Fitness for Health’s Healthy Heart class is just the ticket. Your kids will have a blast while breaking a sweat with our heart-pumping exergaming program. Using our state-of-the-art equipment, kids will get fit, feel good and get healthy. This program is a cardio clinic used to help children who are overweight. It is a successful product of our collaboration with Potomac Pediatrics to help improve kids’ health and fitness. Join the fight against childhood obesity and register for our Healthy Heart program today!]]>