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Physical Activity .pdf

Original filename: Physical Activity.pdf
Author: Ravi

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How can I get my child to be more
physically active?
It is a known fact that we are a nation with many overweight or obese individuals. Some of these obese
adults of today were probably heavier during their childhood. There has been increasing awareness
about childhood obesity among parents and I get asked this question a lot.
Many parents are aware that their child is overweight. Unfortunately their main approach to control this
rests only on diet. The physical activity aspect is often overlooked. The only activities these children are
getting are by playing the X Boxes, Wii or PlayStations!
With participation in all types of physical activity declining dramatically as a child's age and grade in
school increases, it is important that physical activity be a regular part of family life. Studies have shown
that lifestyles learned as children are much more likely to stay with a person into adulthood. If sports
and physical activities are a family priority, they will provide children and parents with a strong
foundation for a lifetime of health.
Parents can play a key role in helping their child become more physically active. Following are some of
the ways to get started:

Find a fun activity. Help your child find a sport that he/she enjoys. The more he/she enjoys the
activity, the more likely it is that he/she will continue. Get the entire family involved. It is a great
way to spend time together.
Choose an activity that is developmentally appropriate. For example soccer, bicycle riding, and
swimming are all appropriate activities for an elementary school child.
Safety cannot be overstressed. Make sure your child's equipment and chosen site for the sport
or activity are safe. Make sure your child's clothing is comfortable and appropriate.
Avoid sugary drinks. Unfortunately Gatorades, Powerades have become the drink of choice in
many little leagues and other sports areas. Just water is plenty.
If you have no time for organized sports, make time for exercise. Some children are so
overscheduled with homework, music lessons, and other planned activities that they do not
have time for exercise.

Be a model for your child. Children who regularly see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity
are more likely to do so themselves. Play with your child. Help him/her learn a new sport.
Turn off the TV. Limit television watching and computer use. The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of total screen time, including TV, videos, and computers and
video games, each day. Use the time saved for more physical activities.

Exercise along with a balanced diet provides the foundation for a healthy, active life. One of the most
important things parents can do is encourage healthy habits in their children early on in life. It is never
too late to start. Your pediatrician can help your child understand why physical activity is important.
Ask your pediatrician about tools for healthy living today.

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