A New Role for Our Youth: Get Active

Studies show that children were more active in the fifties than right now. With all the technology advances and easier access to fast-food options the fact may be that today’s youth are not motivated enough to be active.

It's as important for kids to be active as it is for adults. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends that kids do more. They need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on 5 or more days a week. Unfortunately the popularity of electronic media, as well as cuts in school gym classes both work against the need for children to get moving.

Nearly half of all young people 12 to 21 years old do not engage in regular vigorous activity. As a result, the number of obese children and teens has nearly doubled during the past two decades—putting them at increased risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. They're also more likely to be sedentary adults.

Tips for Parents

Look for opportunities to encourage kids to be active, even if it's just a quick game of hide and seek or a pickup basketball game. Kids develop habits early in life, and you can help give them a healthy start.

Elementary aged children naturally enjoy toys that involve movement such as a scooter, skateboard, pogo stick, roller blades, a badminton set, a jump-rope, tap shoes, music for dancing, and balls of all kinds, including soft foam balls that can be used indoors.

Parents may find that their teenagers have little opportunity for exercise in school. A CDC study found the majority of high school kids take only one year of PE between grades 9 and 12.

Try the following suggestions to help teens be physically active.


  • Discuss the value of physical activity with your kids.

  • Set limits on how much time they can watch TV and play video or computer games.

  • Create new routines like taking a walk after dinner or playing at a park on the weekends.

  • Plan physical activities for family events such as birthday parties, picnics, and vacations.

  • Encourage your kids to participate in school and community sports programs.

  • Advocate for quality physical education and school health programs.

  • Choose a doctor for your teen who will encourage and explain the benefits of physical activity.

  • Be a good role model and join in the fun.


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Contributing sources for this article include: American Cancer Society www.cancer.org.

 

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