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Childhood Obesity and Outdoor Activities

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  • Childhood Obesity and Outdoor Activities

    The rate of obesity in children has increased substantially in recent years. Children from ages 6-11 have nearly a 20% obesity rate, and older children only seem to suffer from obesity at even higher rates. This is not even factoring in children who are simply considered overweight, which is much closer to one third of all children and adolescents.

    One of the largest factors for this is the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of children, who spend much less time being physically active, and much more indoors watching TV or using computers. Even a slight increase in the amount of physical activity that children do on a daily basis may significantly reduce the risk of suffering from obesity.

    One of the best ways to encourage your child to increase their level of physical activity is to have them spend more time outside. Studies have shown that children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active. The range of activities children can do can improve bone and muscle strength, as well as aerobic capacity.

    Even informal games with a small group of children, such as playing tag or playing with equipment on a playground, may help prevent obesity in children. More formal activities like organized sports or exercise are also helpful. Team sports may help to keep children in shape, and encourage them to stay active more often. Older children may even benefit from regular work out exercises such as push-ups or sit-ups.

    However you can encourage your child to get involved in more physical activity, it is recommended that they average a full 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day.