Weighing the Risks of Obesity

As school districts continue to cut the number of physical education classes, parents have to educate their children about the importance of exercise. Their physical and mental health depends on it. Obese or overweight children often have lower self-esteem and self-confidence. They also are at high risk for developing severe medical problems.  

Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension and sleep disorders are just a few of the health problems linked to obesity. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing these medical disorders. For those individuals with these conditions, exercise and proper nutrition can help decrease their severity. Below are some key points you can use to get your family moving!

  1. Individuality: Begin by identifying activities your child enjoys. For children interested in dancing or martial arts, enroll them in a class or pick up a DVD from your local library. This may be the key in keeping your child active for life.
  2. Progression: Begin with activities your child likes and slowly make them harder. This will help reduce burn-out and keep your child interested. Stress how hard they are working not how much they are exercising. Walking is a good exercise to begin with, however once your child has gotten used to this, add short fast walks and jogs or play a game of soccer or keep away to avoid boredom. Motivate your child by having a social support group. Friends and family can provide a reason to get moving when the goals of changing their appearance or fitness are not enough.
  3. Consistency: Set aside time each day for short bouts of physical activity. These do not need to be done all at one time to be useful. Spacing out activity during the day can be just as effective and fun.

Using these three key points can help your child develop an overall sense of well-being. Physical activity should be for life. This is a good reason to get off the couch or to move away from the computer and paperwork to get active with your children. Consider the risks and you will see the real reasons to get active with your kids.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine specializes in diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries in youth, adolescent, and collegiate athletes. Services are available in multiple locations throughout central Ohio. To make an appointment, call 614-355-6000 or request an appointment online.