The world is getting fatter and it's beginning at childhood! Over two hundred million kids are overweight in the world and there is no indication that this trend is going to decline. One problem is that parents of overweight kids are blissfully unaware of the problem. Parents are becoming so used to seeing overweight kids that 57 percent of fathers and 33 percent of mothers don't recognize obesity in their own children! If parents perceptions are failing to identify obesity in their overweight kids then children can't be supported and helped by their parents if they simply don't recognize the problem.
It is essential to get them when they are young in order to make sure kids are healthy in adulthood. If a child is unhealthy the likelihood that they will lead a healthy lifestyle when older and free of health issues is vastly reduced. Carrying poor behaviours and lifestyle traits over into adulthood has worrying health risks with the average inactive adult having a one in three chance of getting cancer. Conversely, if they are active on a regular basis statistically they'll be in the category of only one case of cancer in seven, vastly improving the chance of not getting cancer. This is largely down to building a strong immune system through the quality of diet and regular exercise. Poor quality of diet is associated with increased risks of many types of cancer.
One problem in tackling childhood obesity is that overweight children don't like conventional exercise. Often they are too large to be good at a sport. This means if they are forced into it, we are setting them up for failure and making them unhappy. An overweight child is vastly more likely to become depressed than a healthy child.
In fact, few people will continue with an exercise or sport that makes them feel bad. Athletes for instance, don't choose a sport because they necessarily enjoy it in itself, they choose a sport that makes them feel good because they are good at it. This is the same with overweight children. Find an activity they can physically manage and they will enjoy it and it won't seem like a chore or a grueling way to lose weight.
Several generations ago we didn't have this problem. Children played outside, running around burning calories and maintaining a healthy physique. Today activities favored by children include sedentary games such as X-boxes, TV, the Internet and increasingly Mobile Phone applications.
You are probably fully aware that if you try to force a child into exercising you'll get resistance. This why I feel "tricking" your child into activity by supplying them with the tools to exercise and lose weight in a fun way is a much more eloquent and painless way to help a kid become healthy. Especially if you can find non group activities that can be done in the childs own home away from critical eyes.
Activities that parents can get involved in to support their child and make the activity more enjoyable. Yes, you can also have fun doing these activities with your kid and reap the benefits yourself. Not only will this allow you to "trick" yourself into exercise, but you will also be getting quality time building a better bond with your child as well.
But increasing an overweight childs activity levels is not the only aim, we need to find a solution to get children to eat more healthy.
We all know how difficult it is to change a child's diet. You can't always stop them eating food that is fattening, or bad for them. You may not have too much say in the food they eat at school and it's often difficult to regulate the sweets they eat when you are not around.
If your child does not want to lose weight, or more to the point, resists cutting out their favorite high calorie snack then "tricking" them into enjoying exercising without it and replacing their poor diets (particularly snacks) with healthier choices could be the best option. A few activities that have high muscle building and calorie burning properties but don't seem like conventional sports:
- Hula Hooping: Calories burnt = 420 per hour
- Pogo-ing: Calories burnt = 600 per hour
- Swimming: Calories burnt = 400 to 500 per hour depending on the stroke
- Skating: Calories burnt = 350 per hour
- Swing Ball: Calories burnt = 600 per hour
- Skipping / Rope Jumping: Calories burnt = 860 per hour
- Tai Chi or Yoga: Calories burnt = 200 to 250 per hour
- Cycling: Calories burnt = 300 to 700 per hour depending on speed and terrain
- Zumba: Calories burnt = 350 to 800 per hour depending on intensity and equipment used
Steve Mycoe is the author of, "How to 'Trick' A Kid into Losing Weight: For Kids who Hate Diets and Exercise!" Visit his website here.
Available from Amazon: ISBN-13: 978-1475249163
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