Healthy Lee

Keep the Kids Busy, Active from The News-Press

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Physical activity for children is a must and paramount to them sustaining a healthy childhood. Not only is nutrition very important but physically activity is as important, if not more.
At a young age most children are naturally physically active and love to move around. But what might not be apparent is that climbing to the top of a slide or swinging from the monkey bars can help lead kids to a lifetime of being active. As they get older, it can be a challenge for kids to get enough daily activity. Reasons include increasing demands of school, a feeling among some kids that they aren’t good at sports, a lack of active role models, and busy working families.

In spite of these barriers, parents can instill a love of activity and help kids fit it into their everyday lives. Doing so can set healthy patterns that will last into adulthood.

On average, U.S. children spend 3-4 hours per day watching TV. According to a survey conducted in 2011, it was found that about three out of four children ages 5-10 get less than one hour of physical activity daily. The survey of more than 1,600 U.S. parents was conducted by the YMCA of the USA, also known as Y-USA. It showed that 74 percent of children between the ages of 5-10 do not get enough exercise on a daily basis, based on the 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Only 15 percent of the parents in the survey indicated that overall physical health is the top concern for their children, even though rates of childhood obesity have been climbing.

Other findings from the survey:

  • 74 percent of parents say they choose to spend family time with their children sitting in front of a TV set.
  • 42 percent of parents say growing technological distractions, including social networks, computer games, and cell phones, are getting in the way of active play.
  • 53 percent say they spend leisure time with their kids playing video games, or otherwise on a computer.
  • 58 percent say their children ages 5-10 spend fewer than four days a week playing outdoors.
  • 42 percent of parents say they are more concerned with their children’s financial security than their physical activity
  • 50 percent of parents say families play a sport together less than once a week.
  • 38 percent of parents feel extracurricular activities are too expensive and 38 percent say there is not enough time in the day to achieve a healthy lifestyle for their kids.
  • 41 percent of parents say they are cutting back on extracurricular activities for their kids to save money for the family’s future.
  • About 90 percent of parents say they provide a healthy home environment for their children, but 41 percent get 60 minutes of exercise less than one day a week.
  • About 50 percent of children 5-10 are watching at least two hours of TV a day more than five days a week, and spending an hour in front of a computer three days a week.

With those statistics and accepting we now live in a very high tech world, as a parent it is a difficult task to try and raise physically active children. During the teenage years, or even once a child enters middle school the opportunity to engage in a more physical lifestyle becomes more apparent. One of the main reasons being that at this age intramural sports are available.

How can I get my children to be more active?

If you as parents are physically active or have an interest in a sport, more than likely that child will follow in your footsteps.
They will have been introduced to the sport at a young age and you as a parent are going to have placed a bigger emphasis on the benefits of physical activity at a young age.

If you are not physically active as a parent, try to focus on a few activities per week that are outdoor, (weather permitting) or at a local recreation facility. A family day at the beach can be active and restful, walking, swimming, and playing ball, even playing in the sand.

  • Make a play date with your youngsters, one that
    requires physical activity, such as charades.
  • Dance. Have a dance contest.
  • Go bike riding or inline skating. Make sure to
    wear a helmet.

Even though we live in Florida, the early part of the day can provide some great weather. Many local parks offer “splash/water” facilities. This is fun and active for the kids, but less active for the parents. Vitamin D is important too. Over exposure to the extreme Florida sun is not advisable but a small amount of sunshine per day is beneficial for Vitamin D.

Remember not all children are competitive, some prefer to be active in a noncompetitive environment, and not every child wants to be signed up for YMCA
soccer or basketball. Other sports which can be more individual could be running, golf, swimming.

Faith Presbyterian Church is having its first summer sports camp/Vacation Bible School from June 13 to 17.
For information contact: Spaces are limited and registration is mandatory.

Thank you to The News-Press for this article! You can read the the entire article here.