Health - September 22, 2017

Physical Activity: A Key Ingredient to Keeping Kids at a Healthy Weight

About one in five (21 percent) Delaware children, ages 2-17, were obese in 2014, according to the most recent Delaware Survey of Children’s Health (DSCH) sponsored by Nemours Children’s Health System. The rate of obesity in 2014 is similar to the rate observed in 2011, when Nemours conducted the previous DSCH.

Physical activity and sedentary time are two of many factors that influence weight status, including diet, psychosocial, cultural, environmental, biological and genetic factors. Yet just over half (55 percent) of Delaware children, ages 2-17, engaged in 60 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MPVA), like playing in gym class or dancing, per day in 2014. And only about one in three (31 percent) Delaware children, ages 2-17, limited their screen time to 2 hours or less per day.

Less Time Physically Active, More Time Plugged In

  • Nearly 80 percent of young children engage in 60 minutes of MVPA daily, but only 39 percent of adolescents engage in this level of physical activity.
  • Half of young children limit their screen time to 2 hours or less per day, but only 16 percent of adolescents limit their daily screen time to this amount.

Benefits of Being Active

When kids are active, their bodies can do the things they want and need them to do. Why? Because regular exercise provides these benefits:

  • strong muscles and bones
  • weight control
  • decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • better sleep
  • a better outlook on life

Healthy, physically active kids also are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful. And physical competence builds self-esteem at every age.

Raising Fit Kids

Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips for raising fit kids:

  • Help your kids participate in a variety of age-appropriate activities.
  • Establish a regular schedule for physical activity.
  • Make being active a part of daily life, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Embrace a healthier lifestyle yourself, so you’ll be a positive role model for your family.
  • Keep it fun, so your kids will come back for more.

Subtract Sedentary Time

One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching TV or other screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents:

  • Put limits on the time spent using media, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of getting enough sleep and being active.
  • Limit screen time to 1 hour a day or less for children 2 to 5 years old.
  • Discourage any screen time, except video-chatting, for kids younger than 18 months.
  • Choose high-quality programming and watch it with your kids to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • Keep TVs, computers, and video games out of children’s bedrooms and turn off screens during mealtimes.

By Nemours. Original post:

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