Obesity rates for children are at an all-time high. We’ve seen the statics. They’re grim. The next generation of kids is not expected to outlive their parents. For the first time in 100 years, our children’s life expectancies are declining due to the increase in overweight. (Olsshanksy S, Passaro D, Hershow R, Layden J, Carnes B., Brody J., et al (2005) A potential decline in life expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century. New England Journal of Medicine, 352: 1138-1145.8).
We know that our children need to lead an active lifestyle to reap the benefits of good health. The benefits are many: strong muscles and bones, weight control, decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, better sleep and improved self-esteem.
We know there is a link between children’s physical activity, fitness and play and other areas of development such as cognitive and behavior. A recent study suggests that increased physical activity among students yields higher test scores and reduces disciplinary problems at school. Schools with a higher percentage of fit students also earned better state performance ratings than those with a greater percentage of less fit students (Texas Education Agency, 2009. Physically fit students more likely to do well in school, less likely to be disciplinary problems. Austin, TX).
We also know that one hour of physical activity is recommended for school age children every day, yet it can be a challenge for kids to get that amount of daily activity.
Although there are more options for activity available today than ever before, the statistics continue to show drops in activity levels for all ages. Fingers have been pointed at computers, video games, the fast food industry, less physical activity time at school, tough economics, a lack of active role models and busy, working parents. These barriers can be overcome by parents that are committed the physical health and well-being of their children. Parents can instill the love of an active lifestyle and by doing so establish healthy habits that their children will carry with them into adulthood.
Now it’s time to put this knowledge into a plan and put the plan into action.
Why? Why Sports for Kids
What? Pick the Right Sport for Your Child
Who? Parents as Role Models
How? Etiquette for Sports Parents, Boundaries for Sports Parent
When? No More Excuses
Where? Move On