When President Obama declared September Childhood Obesity Awareness Month last year, he stated that nearly one in every three children in America is overweight or obese.
How can we help children become healthier? By setting a great example for them: Join them for well-balanced meals and show them how much fun daily physical activity can be.
Use these tips to help children become and stay healthy:
Be a Team PlayerAsk your child what activity he or she would like to learn and then sign them up. Some children enjoy competitive team sports including T-ball, softball, football, tennis, basketball, hockey or even Frisbee. Other children are more comfortable with non-competitive activities such as dancing, ice or roller skating, swimming, gymnastics or even yoga for kids.
Take a ClassKids enjoy exercise classes for the same reasons adults do: the camaraderie of friends and the fun of following an instructor. Exercise classes for kids are wonderful ways for children to be exposed to both fitness and dance at once in a happy, non-competitive environment.
Neighborhood FunEncourage your children to play outdoors with kids who live nearby. A basic game of tag requires no equipment. In warm weather, let your children and their friends run through your sprinklers.
Indoor FunOn rainy or snowy days, or for less athletically-inclined children, get their -- and your -- circulation going while indoors. Try a game of Twister, hold indoor ping pong tournaments or play hide and seek.;
Use TechnologyIf your child seems more excited about texting friends than moving his or her body, lure them into exercise with technology. Try the Wii, which can be played indoors while requiring the body to simulate the motions of tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing. Let your children invite their friends over for Wii's "Just Dance Summer Party."
Respect Their LevelSome children are natural athletes while others enjoy more relaxed physical pursuits. Respect your child's level and work within it, only gradually increasing the intensity. As with adults, all children progress at a different pace. If walking around the neighborhood or a park is what your child enjoys, begin there. Then slowly add other activities such as tossing a ball. Walking might lead to hiking a more challenging mountain trail.
CheerleadWhatever physical activity your child chooses, be sure to encourage them. If they enjoy what they're doing, they'll do more of it. Just like adults, right?
Sign up for a kid-friendly fitness class.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.