It’s easy to look at your child and think, “It’s just puppy fat, they will grow out of it”. It’s equally simple to justify bad dietary habits and lack of exercise with excuses.
However, that’s exactly what they are – excuses.
The truth is, overweight kids are likely to grow into overweight teens, ending up as overweight adults with chronic health problems. With around a quarter of children either overweight or obese, along with well over half of Australian men (63%) and almost half of women (48%) and rising, it’s time to take responsibility and stop with the excuses.
Children need daily physical activity to live healthy lives and figures show most young people get far less than the recommended 60 minutes of exercise daily. Movement helps bodies perform at their best – and who doesn’t want the best for their kids? But it is also proven to reduce many health risks. Building strength, bone density, healthy joints and muscles is all part of maintaining a healthy weight.
Exercise is proven to help children in other ways too. It allows for better sleep and reduces stress levels. By encouraging children to move more, we provide insurance for their health and wellbeing in the future. Entrenching good daily habits means you give your child the gift of a happy healthy lifestyle.
Ages six -12
It is essential to lay the foundation for exercise habits now. Encourage kids to try sports and activities to see what works for them. Consider team sports, dancing, gymnastics, swimming, martial arts, as well as fun family activities such as bike rides, walks and outdoor adventures.
Encourage teens to keep up daily physical activity. Around 13-15 years they tend to become more sedentary Exercise with not only help with weight management, it also increases social interaction and self esteem.
Narelle Muller is a journalist/ health writer of more than 20 years’ experience and a personal trainer at Fit & Well. For more information contact 0412 745 519.