Childhood obesity has now become the top concern among parents in America. About 1 of every 3 children is said to be obese, a rate that tripled since the early 1970s. What can you do to make sure you’re raising healthy children? It begins at home with a healthy diet and a commitment to an active lifestyle.
Here are some tips to keep your child healthy and where you can go for activities that are not only fun, but provide much needed exercise.
Commitment To Nutrition
A lifetime of healthy eating begins at a very young age. Hectic schedules make it harder than ever to focus on proper nutrition – it’s easy to just zip through the fast food drive-thru. But if you follow these tips, you’ll find a healthy diet for you and your child is possible.
Eat as a family: Eating as a family leads to healthier meals and children who eat with their families are less likely to snack on junk food.
Explore a variety of foods: It’s common sense to encourage a balanced diet including protein, fruits, grains and vegetables. What isn’t often thought about is how offering a variety of foods can encourage healthy eating.
Lead by example: This is no time for the old “Do as I say, not as I do” line. You can be a role model to your children by displaying healthy eating habits yourself.
Let the kids choose: Giving children the hard sell on broccoli will likely be unproductive. Most young children are picky eaters and that’s OK. Offering a variety of healthy foods and letting your children gravitate to what they like will lead to good habits in the long run.
Don’t make it a chore: Nutrition can be fun. By allowing your children to be involved in food, they can connect with you and also feel ownership. Some ways to involve kids in nutrition include: planting a garden or picking fruit, arrange fruits and vegetables in interesting ways or allow them to help in the kitchen.
Once you have your family eating a healthy diet, everyone will feel good and be ready to exercise. After all, nobody feels like exercising after eating unhealthy snacks.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The CDC has recommendations for the types of exercise needed to raise a healthy child:
Aerobic Exercise: It’s suggested that the majority of the 60 minutes of exercise be moderate or vigorous aerobic activity to build endurance and respiratory health. Moderate aerobic exercises include: riding a bike, rollerblading or walking and hiking. Vigorous aerobics involve running, martial arts, cheerleading or jumping rope.
Build Bone Strength: Children should spend a portion of each day’s 60 minutes doing bone-strengthening exercises. These include: hopping and jumping, running and sports like basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.
Increase Muscular Strength: It’s not recommended for young children to lift weights. Doing push-ups and sit-ups will do the trick, as will gymnastics and playing on playground equipment. As your child gets older, weight training can be introduced after proper instruction.
This doesn’t mean you need a personal trainer and a heavily-regimented exercise program for your child. It’s important to encourage physical activities that are fun and age appropriate. That way, getting exercise won’t seem like a chore.
One way for a healthy child to have fun with peers while getting valuable exercise is to discover NinjaZone. With more than 250 licensed clubs worldwide, NinjaZone is providing children with a mix of obstacle training, gymnastics, martial arts and freestyle movement. Spending 60 minutes in your local NinjaZone club will provide your child with the aerobic and strength-building activity needed to be healthy, confident and creative.
NinjaZone recently launched a Baby Ninja program which is a Parent & Me class for walkers to age 3. For children ages 3-5, we have a Lil’ Ninja program that introduces by gymnastics, martial arts and obstacle training concepts in a way that encourages listening, confidence and exploration. For children ages 5-11, our Ninja Training program of flips, rolls, kicks and jumps provides necessary bone- and muscle-strengthening exercises.
The Ninja Sport is growing. Find out what 80,000 healthy children are finding out, physical fitness doesn’t have to be a chore. By eating right and having a little fun with friends, your child can build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Sources: Heart.org: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp#.WvD87dMvzOQ