by Christine Dunbar
As the number of obese and overweight children in the United States continues to climb, fitness is a consideration that weighs heavily on the minds of parents, caretakers and teachers.The risk of health issues accompanying obesity among children provokes many fears that unless parents and children make significant changes in the lifestyles inhabited by our kids, diabetes, heart disease, and other weight related conditions have the potential to run rampant among American youth.
Importance of Fitness for Children
Although encouraging a healthy lifestyle, among children, that includes physical activity and fitness is vital to addressing issues associated with health problems and obesity, the addition of kid's fitness can also promote a lifelong love. Fitness not only encourages physical activity, keeping weight and accompanying conditions at bay, it also helps protect children from injuries that can occur when they are not accustomed to physical activity, movement and sports. Most injuries that plague children completing physical activities occur as a result of a lifestyle that lacks movement and activity that can provide balance, coordination and muscle memory necessary for a fit lifestyle.
Fitness and Physical Activity Benefits
Despite statistics praising physical activity among children as a weight management tool and method of decreasing injuries during activities and sports, fitness among children boasts a plethora of positive results and side effects. Strong bones and joints, stress relief, self confidence improvement and better academic concentration are just some of the other benefits touted by a child's active lifestyle, says HealthyChildren.org. In fact, according to the children's organization advocating a healthy lifestyle among youth, children who participate in sports, physical activities and other types of fitness positively affects the social lives of participants, offering a socially acceptable activity and associated peers.
Implementing Fitness and Physical Activity among Children
Understanding what types of activities and scheduling conflicts are preventing a child from obtaining a sufficient amount of physical activity and fitness can be a good way for parents to begin to understand how and where transformations can be made regarding kids' health. Tracking the amount of activity a child partakes can be as simple as gaining an awareness of their school schedules and whether they include physical education classes, recess and other ways children participate in fitness centered activities. Children who participate in a variety of physically demanding activities at school, such as extracurricular athletics or PE classes may not need as much prompting and extra fitness added to their day as a child who spends more time still and sedentary.
Set an Example
One of the best ways parents, caregivers and teachers can prompt children to compete in fitness activities and grasp a healthy lifestyle is by striving toward adopting a similar lifestyle that promotes and values physical activity. In fact, according to USA Today "No Time to Weight," children with even one obese parent have a 50 percent chance of being obese themselves. Children with two obese parents have an 80 percent chance of following in their footsteps, the article continues. Children who observe healthy lifestyles in their parents and role models have a better chance of adopting similar habits, highlighting the vital role parents play in influencing the fitness levels and physical activity of children.