Tips for Battling Child Obesity January 17 2012

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American children spend too much time inside and on the couch, and it shows. The reason for this is subject for much debate. Are video games that much more fun than they were 20 years ago? Do parents' fears regarding children's safety and the desire to keep them within arm’s reach discourage an active lifestyle?

Is food to blame? Are children eating too much processed food at home and in school cafeterias? Meatloaf, spaghetti, and fried chicken were certainly on the menu 20 years ago both at home and at school, and many a meal was served on a plastic tray or out of a can. Regardless of the reason, American kids are fat.

A healthy diet will certainly help the situation, but there is something disconcerting about a 70-year-old counting calories. Children have remarkably fast metabolism. Watching their caloric intake should be the least of their concerns. In order for a child to lose weight, they need to get up and move.

Kids need to be active. They need to play sports and games. They need to ride their bikes and skateboard. They need to get some sun on their skin. If a child becomes active, the weight will melt off, and calories will not need to be counted.

Model Good Habits

The best way to get kids up and moving is to set a good example. If the first thing you do when you get home from work every day is lie down on the couch to take a nap, what do you think your children will do when they get home from schoo?. They will lie down on the couch and take a nap. However, if you go outside to shoot some hoops, the chances are that your child will want to tag along.

Kids want to play, and they especially want to play with you. If you are worried about your child’s safety, there is no reason you cannot blow the dust off your bike and go riding with them. A little exercise would do everyone some good.

Play with a Team

If you do not think that you can take the time to exercise with your children, sign them up for team sports. Children love to compete, and they like to win. Even if your child only practices with the team once a week and has a game on Saturday, they will inevitably go outside to practice on their own. No one wants to be a weak link on a team. Team sports will do wonders for a child’s overall mental health, self-esteem, and physical fitness.

Many parents are concerned about the expense of youth sports. Times are tight, and sports equipment is not cheap. Kids grow fast, and equipment rarely lasts through one season. However, secondhand sporting goods stores have bins of barely used equipment on sale all the time at great prices.

Encourage Personal Interests

Sports are just one option. There are many other great options like scouts, martial arts or nature clubs. The important thing is to teach your children how fun being active can be. Provide positive reinforcement. If your child expresses an interest in a physical activity, you should make sure to do your best to make it happen. If that means spending hours searching the Internet for discounts on boxing gloves or paintball markers, you should spend those hours. Your child will thank you. They might not thank you with words, but a big grin will say it all.

The author of this article is Holly Adams, who writes for Coupon Croc. Shop online with The Baby Catalogue discount codes and save on everything your kids need.