When many adults think back on their childhood summers, images like riding bikes along the neighborhood streets with friends, doing cannonballs at the community pool or playing a thrilling game of flashlight tag come to mind. Back then, it was all about getting out of the house and out of mom’s way during the day. As kids we were constantly moving, looking for our next big adventure or a little bit of mischief to cause. You didn’t play videogames all day and you certainly didn’t watch movies on your iPad. Life was simpler, and kids were more active.
Nowadays, it seems like all young boys want to do is play the next Call of Duty game or sit on the computer managing their fantasy baseball teams. Likewise, young girls love watching the latest episode of teenybopper shows and uploading pictures of their latest, cutest outfit on Facebook. What is becoming of today’s youth in America? Is this increase in technology and lack of just getting outside and playing in the fresh air to blame for the country’s childhood obesity epidemic? And what’s more, how much exercise is your child getting?
America’s childhood obesity epidemic: The facts
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. In 2008, nearly 20 percent of American kids age 6 to 11 were obese, up from 7 percent in 1980. Additionally, 18 percent of kids 12-19 were obese in 2008, up from 5 percent over the same amount of time. This means that in 2008, more than one-third of children in the United States were overweight or obese, states the source.
There is a variety of immediate and lifelong health effects that children who are overweight or obese can experience. Obese children and teens are at an increased risk for sleep apnea and joint problems, as well as diseases such as prediabetes and cardiovascular disease. Further down the line, a person who was obese as a child has been found to have a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Furthermore, an overweight or obese child can suffer from social and psychological problems throughout their whole lives, forever struggling with self-esteem and body-image issues.
The latest research
Science Daily reports that a recent study has found children under the age of 8 must be targeted for a more active lifestyle in order to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity. Researchers from Newcastle University determined that girls are becoming more sedentary than boys by the time they are 8 years old, and children overall are not spending enough time being active.
“One of the important things is that most girls don’t see sport as cool,” explained lead study author Dr. Mark Pearce. “We need to be tackling these issues earlier by encouraging girls to exercise, by providing a wider range of opportunities than are currently on offer and by ensuring they see positive female role models, particularly in the media.”
Help your kids get more active
As a parent, your children likely look toward you to set an example of fitness and wellbeing for the whole family. Therefore, do your best to be active whenever possible and encourage your children to follow your lead. Make being active fun by planning trips as a family and finding unique programs your kids might like getting involved in – give horseback riding lessons, archery, bowling, rollerblading or kayaking a try.
You might also consider enrolling them in a tradition or sports-centered summer camp to increase their physical activity. Finally, an all-natural supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals can support a kid’s health. CalMax Kids can help teach your kids about wellness and is formulated to provide them with more energy to get out of the house and have some fun being fit!