by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
The President´s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition has reported that only one in three children are physically active every day; children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen either TV, video games or computers; and only one in five homes have parks within a half –mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance.
Add to this that in recent years, close to 15% or American homes have been unable to acquire adequate food to help meet their needs. This report mentioned that in 2008, an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, experienced food insecurity meaning nutritionally adequate foods multiple times throughout the year.
In addition to the previous facts data from 2009-2010 shows that over 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million (16.9%) children and adolescents are obese and are already having health issues. Also some recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese. Overweight adolescents have a 70& chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
What about children with disabilities? Well facts are even worst. The rates are approximately 38% higher than for children without disabilities.
All of the facts mentioned previously are alarming and gives us an idea of what is going on with our children; therefore it is our responsibility to not only educate them, but exercise with them if needed. We need to teach our children how to eat healthy and how important exercise is in our life. Not only because of the way we look but most important because of our health. It is important that this starts at home. You need to make them exercise as part of a hobby. Introduce your children to different activities or sports by taking them to the park, or play with them at your backyard even in the intimacy of your small apartment. Be creative if needed.
You can encourage your children by leading the example; make that when you choose a family activity it involves some kind of physical exercises, like playing a sport such as American football or even an activity like throwing a frisbee; encourage them to walk or ride their bicycle to school if near or to the visit a friend, instead of driving them there; set time limits to the amount of time they spend in front of the T.V. or computer; motivate them and support them when they want to try a new sport or join a team. Always consult with the school or closest fitness center where your children can go or better yet, the whole family can workout or practice some kind of sport of physical activity.
It is recommendable that children practice at least 60 minutes of some kind of physical activity every day and shouldn’t spend more than two hours a day using electronic devices for entertainment.
For ages 2-3
Try exercises that include traditional games such as tag and leap frog and appropriate toys.
For ages 4-5
Try exercises that help them work on their balance and hand-eye coordination like catch or gymnastics. At this age they can also learn how to ride a bike and swim. Remember always be cautious. You want them to also learn some safety precautions.
For ages 6-12
This age is key for your children to develop that love for working out. Here is where you can help them join that team at school, church or help them get involved in activities they can also do at home or at a gym or YMCA center, such as yoga classes, rock climbing or racquetball.
For ages 13-18
At this age team sports are still a great option for children, especially if they have been part of them already. You only have to make sure you watch out because you don’t want them to lose interest. No pressure let them choose and let them have fun with it. Sometimes parents lose focus, and forget that they are just children and overall are just trying to enjoy themselves. As long as it healthy let them run with it even if they are not number one and are not gold medal material, at the end is about exercising while having fun, with friends or family members.