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Kids seem busier than ever. Parents are shuttling them from one activity to the next right after school and on weekends. But if children and teens are so busy, why are they putting on so much weight? And clearly they are getting heavier. According to recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 15% of U.S. children are obese and another 15% are overweight.
Diet is only part of the problem. And putting too much focus on food and weight loss can be counterproductive. Consider making exercise the priority and hinting at how healthy eating improves body shape, endurance, attitude and energy level.
Not an easy task. Despite all the activities, kids today are actually more sedentary than ever before. They use the car for transportation rather than walking or riding a bike. While at home or with friends, they are hardly moving while watching TV, going online and talking on the phone. Plus the homework that gets done sitting in a chair or lying on the bed.
Teens pose special challenges, especially those who are not involved in school sports. Adolescents grapple with identity, sense of character, confidence and self-esteem. For them, working out to get fit rarely sounds like a fun way to spend any spare time they might have. And an overweight or out-of-shape teenager is even less likely to want to display his or her body and lack of fitness in front of peers.
Because children’s attitudes and beliefs are influenced by their role models, the best way to get your child more active is to model healthy living and encourage dynamic activities.
The first step in changing an apathetic or unmotivated attitude is to alter the climate in the home. A dynamic environment is one that promotes activity and encourages healthful decisions, balanced with quiet time for rest, relaxation and schoolwork.
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