July 11, 2023
With child obesity still an epidemic in the U.S. and reams of research showing both the immediate and long-term benefits of youth exercise, it’s the duty of parents today to make movement and activity a part of kids’ lifestyles. And the first step in teaching kids to be active is to be a good role model.
Kids are more often than not going to imitate their parents when it comes to activity level. If you’re an active person who goes for walks, bike rides, spends time outdoors and plays with them regularly, your kids are going to learn that’s what life is all about – moving around and enjoying the world.
And in a country where more than one in six kids between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, and just one in three are physically active each day, making movement and exercise a daily part of life is a critical habit to help kids form at a young age. Why?
Active kids are more likely to become healthy adults. Studies have shown that being healthy and active as a youth can lead to a reduced risk of developing a number of serious health conditions later in life – obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
Strong evidence also exists tying activity with greater academic and social achievement in children. It also helps ward off anxiety and depression at a young age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 should participate in one hour of physical activity each day … at a minimum.
That may seem like a lot to squeeze into an already full day of school, work and other commitments, but this is really a modest goal I’d actually like to see kids exceed. I read recently the average American kid might spend up to 7 hours a day in front of a screen. So, they definitely have time for play and exercise.