Physical Activity and Children
By John Monteleone, Head Trainer at Wyomissing Fitness
“I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” That is the classic lyric from “The Greatest Love of All.” Yes, the children are our future! However, how can we expect to teach them with poor nutritional choices, increased sedentary behavior, and constant screen time? With obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular issues rising are we really putting them in a position to lead the way? In this article we will explore the reality of childhood health and solutions to mitigate the epidemic.
We are losing the fight against obesity with adults as well as with children. According to the Center for Disease Control, one of out of five children are classified as obese. There are multiple reasons at the root of childhood obesity with sedentary behavior, poor nutrition, and a rise technology usage pegged as the major culprits. For example, soda, chips and cake although delicious, are not part of a daily healthy meal for children especially if they are not physically active to burn off the excess calories. Couple that with the increased use of technology such as computers, cell phones, video games, and television and you can see how it directly correlates to the increase around a child’s waistline.
But let’s not dwell on the problem, let’s focus on the solution.
Step one: physical activity. It is necessary for children to play…outside.
Growing up in Reading, PA my mother was the enforcer of the street light rule. Go outside and play and do not come back until the street lights come on. Obviously, come home for lunch and water but then go outside and play. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that everyone walk at least thirty minutes a day. Also, physical activity aka recess is great for children to focus when they are in class as well.
Step two: minimize sugary treats and provide healthy snack alternatives. There is a direct link between increased body weight and intake high sugar food products such as soda, cereal, and candy and carbohydrate dense foods such as chips, bread and pretzels. Substitute healthy alternative snacks such as cut up vegetables with hummus and fruits with greek yogurt (watch the sugar amount in the yogurt) instead.
Step three: reduce screen time. The average American watches 13 hours of television per day. Depending on age, a child in the U.S. watches from two to four hours per day television. This does not factor in cell phone, computer usage, and video gaming. Minimizing the amount of time the child is in front a screen and increasing outdoor physical activity decreases the chance of excess weight gain.
The children are the single best investment for a brighter future of our country. We can improve our investment by increasing physical activity, healthy snack and food options and decreasing screen time.
Wyomissing Fitness and Training offers a clean, upscale facility accompanied by an encouraging and motivating environment where your results are our main concern. We offer a first-rate personal training program that will be custom fit to your specific needs. They offer a wide variety of classes which include HIIT, Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, circuit training, kettle bell, kickboxing, strength training, TRX, step and tone, Barlattes, total body conditioning, core and toning, Bosu, body sculpting, Pound, and personal training, to name a few! Head Trainer John Monteleone is passionate about sharing his wisdom and educating the community about getting healthy and incorporating fitness in their lives. He is also a candidate for the Olivet Boys and Girls Club Kiss a Pig 2018 campaign. Kiss-A-Pig Candidates compete to raise the most money for Olivet Boys & Girls Club. The candidates who raise the most money will kiss Miss Maycie May the pig at Olivet’s Steak & Burger Dinner on May 22, 2018. Support John to help him raise the most funds to benefit the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, benefitting the youth of Greater Reading, so he can win the chance to pucker up and kiss a pig!