How Can I Get My Kids More Active?

April 12, 2012

Q: I hear and read so much about childhood obesity. I want my kids to get active, but how?

A: Kids need physical activity as much as adults. Childhood obesity is on the rise. To tackle it, families need to encourage a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and physical activity. 

Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Being active will prevent a lifetime of health issues like obesity, diabetes, heart health issues as well as psychological and mental issues like self-esteem, depression and anxiety.

Parents can encourage their child to find physical activities that they enjoy and can do regularly:  playing tag, jumping rope, riding a bicycle, walking, skipping, running, dancing or roller skating or in-line skating.

Children can also get active away from home. They can play actively during school recess; take part in physical education activity classes during school; or join after school or community physical activity programs. 

Parents can also set an example for their kids. Seeing their parents active shows kids the importance of being, and staying, fit. Help make physical activity a part of a daily routine:

  • Arrange active family events in which everyone takes part.
  • Encourage your child to engage in physical activities at home, school and with friends.
  • Limit your child’s television watching, computer games and other inactive forms of play by alternating with periods of physical activity.

By Rick Canlas, MD, sports medicine physician, ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus, New London.