Parents are having a hard time prioritizing a healthy lifestyle for their kids and technology is partly to blame, according to a recent survey conducted by the YMCA. Speaking with more than 1,600 parents of kids ages 5 to 10, the YMCA found that technology, time and money are identified as key barriers and that 42 percent of parents say the numerous distractions with TV, games and cell phones are inhibiting kids’ healthy lifestyles.
Even though parents are partially blaming technology as a reason for the lack of exercise, 74 percent opt to spend family time with their kids sitting in front of the TV and 53 percent spend extra time with their kids playing video games or using the computer. It’s hard to blame technology as a cause of kids’ inactivity if parents are sitting right beside them on the couch.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that childhood obesity rates have tripled in 30 years and currently one out of every three kids is considered overweight. It is every parent’s responsibility to take their kids’ health into their own hands and set a good example for a healthy lifestyle. Any advice from health experts come back to the same basics: Eat well-balanced meals; reduce screen time; set a good example for your kids; have family time be outdoors instead of watching TV.
Here are 15 great ideas from the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for stepping your family fitness into high gear:
- Take active vacations (hiking, swimming, skiing)
- At the mall or when running errands, use the stairs rather than the elevator
- Get pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week
- Start a new tradition: take the whole family out for an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood or park
- Take on active chores as a family (gardening, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or washing the car)
- Spend an afternoon at the local playground
- Play a sport together (basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, touch football)
- Dance to your favorite music
- Go for a family bike ride
- Plant a family garden
- Play miniature golf
- Go to the zoo
- Take the dog for a long walk
- Whenever possible, walk short distances rather than using your car. When you drive, park a little farther away from the store
- Play games that your kids love (tag, Simon Says, Red LightGreen Light, Duck-Duck Goose)
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