Face it, we notice our youth seem to spend more interest in technology and social gatherings than actual physical activity. Whether it hours on Call of Duty or stuck on their phone absorbed in social media, the children of the next generation don’t partake in outdoor activities like they use to. Youth obesity has become a huge international concern, as the last 3 decades have seen a near double in rates (Aceves-Martins, M., et al., 2016). In a 2015-2016 NHANES report, 20.6% of youth ages 12-19 were considered obese (Ruiz, Zuelch, Dimitratos, & Scherr, 2019). Not only does youth obesity pose dangerous health concerns such as inflammation and the development of chronic disease for children at their adolescent ages, but it could influence their lifestyle and impact their health in the future. Children that are considered obese have a 90% chance of being overweight or obese at 35 years of age (Ruiz, Zuelch, Dimitratos, & Scherr, 2019). To become proactive and make a point to positively impact the lives of the next generation, we can start with our own children. Who knows, how you motivate and encourage healthy habits to your children may inspire other kids and parents to do the same.
Here are 5 things you can do for your kids to help them fight childhood obesity.
Take your kids on morning or evening walks
Not only will this help your kids stay active, assist with your own fitness journey, and keep your children out of trouble, but has a great chance of improving the relationship between you and your kids.
Play sports and activities with your kids
Take time out of your day to throw a football, toss a frisbee, ride bikes, kick a soccer ball, or play catch with a baseball. You can play different games or activities that get the heart rate up.
Enroll your kids in fitness classes
You can sign your kids up for group fitness classes like boxing, MMA, dance fitness, zumba, or other classes that promote physical activity and social development.
Choose healthy food options
Depending on the age of your kids, make a point to purchase healthy food options for your household. If you cook, try to make meals that are high in nutrients and not loaded down with unnecessary calories.
Limit Technology Usage
It might not be a fan favorite but limiting the time that your kids have access to their video games and handheld devices might encourage them to do something active.
These are only 5 ways to assist in fighting youth obesity, but honestly the main influence in their life will be you, THE PARENT.
Take time to lead by example. Be physical active, workout, and eat right. This, in itself, will be a driving force in motivating and inspiring your kids.
Aceves-Martins, M., Llauradó, E., Tarro, L., Moreno-García, C. F., Trujillo Escobar, T. G., Solà, R., & Giralt, M. (2016). Effectiveness of social marketing strategies to reduce youth obesity in European school-based interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition reviews, 74(5), 337–351. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuw004
Ruiz, L. D., Zuelch, M. L., Dimitratos, S. M., & Scherr, R. E. (2019). Adolescent Obesity: Diet Quality, Psychosocial Health, and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors. Nutrients, 12(1), 43. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010043