According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 17 percent of American children and adolescents between the ages of 2 to 19 are obese. In Canada, where self-reporting data-collection methods have made such statistics more difficult to quantify, the prevalence of being overweight and obese in children also is on the rise, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey.
Parents know it’s not always easy to get kids to be more physically active. However, the following tips might prove useful when encouraging children to embrace a more active lifestyle:
• Give toys that encourage physical activity. Instead of buying the latest video game console, give kids balls, bicycles, jump ropes or even a backyard swingset.
• Reduce time spent in front of the television. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit their child’s time in front of the television to one to two hours per day, and that includes the time children spend playing video games.
• Find a nontraditional kids’ sports or activity, such as cycling, jogging, dancing, hiking or even bird watching.
• Set a positive example. Kids look up to their parents and often try to emulate what mom and dad are doing. Parents can be physically active themselves by going for a nightly bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood with your youngsters in tow.