A recent review of 27 studies from various countries has shown that there is a decrease in physical activity among both children and teens, starting as young as 7 years of age! We all know physical activity is a key component in a healthy lifestyle, this applies to both children and teens. Above all, regular activity has been shown to decrease chronic illnesses and lower death rates throughout all age groups.
Meanwhile, technology has become exceedingly popular, often leading to even more sedentary behaviors than ever before. Less television time has been directly associated with increase in regular activity. Interventions during early childhood are the best way to keep children in the habit of being active. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 60 minutes of play per day for children 6 years and up. Get your child involved in extracurricular sports and other daily activities to reach this recommendation. It is up to us as parents to make sure our children are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
As a result, parents should focus on being good role models and encouraging an active lifestyle. Physical activity includes: aerobics, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening; each with their own essential benefits. Along with physical well being, regular physical activity can foster psychological well-being, increased ability to handle stress, increased capacity for learning, and better overall self-esteem. Exercise, along with healthy diet, is essential to prevent childhood obesity.
Check out the CDC’s fact sheet or the AAP’s guidelines for more information and ideas to increase your child’s activity level!