Getting (And Keeping) Kids In Shape

With obesity fast becoming an epidemic in children across the country, it is more important than ever to create an active environment for kids, while encouraging them to eat healthfully.

Over thirty percent of the nation’s kids either overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, according to the U.S. government. And if a child is obese at age 13, he or she is 80 percent more likely to become an obese adult, leading to a myriad of other health related problems.

So what can we do to prevent our children from becoming a statistic? The American Obesity Association is offering many helpful tips to keep kids in shape.

Create An Active Environment:

* Make time for the entire family to participate in regular physical activities that everyone enjoys, such as walking, biking or rollerblading.

* Join together with other families in the neighborhood for group activities like touch-football, basketball, tag or hide-and-seek.

* Assign active chores to every family member such as vacuuming, washing the car or mowing the lawn. Rotate the schedule of chores to avoid boredom from routine.

* Enroll your child in an enoyable structured, such as tennis, soccer, gymnastics, martial arts, etc.

* Limit TV watching and video game playing.

Create A Healthy Eating Environment:

* Implement the same healthy diet (rich in fruits, vegetables and grains) for your entire family.

* Prepare foods together. Children enjoy participating and learning about healthy food preparation.

* Eat meals together as a family and without distractions such as TV.

* Have snacks that are low-calorie and nutritious, such as fruit, vegetables and yogurt.

* Avoid serving portions that are too large.

* Limit frequency of fast-food eating to no more than once per week.

* Avoid using food as a reward or the lack of food as punishment.

To tell if a child is overweight, calculate his or her Body Mass Index (BMI) — a number that shows body weight adjusted for height. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site  to determine your child’s BMI.

Whatever health or fitness program you implement for children, perhaps the most important ingredient is to create a positive environment offering love and support.

For more information on obesity, visit the American Obesity Association at


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