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August 12, 2010

Physical and Mental Benefits of Childhood Fitness

diabGuest Blog by Amanda T.

Kids health news is dismal these days; growing children are currently at risk for falling victim to one of the largest health epidemics this country has seen in many decades. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years, and the number of adults with serious health issues has increased significantly as a result.

Children who are obese during important developmental stages are more susceptible to lifelong issues such as heart disease, arthritis, asthma, Type 2 diabetes, and more. Rather than allowing your children to snack on processed foods and empty calories, try introducing more fruits and vegetables into their diets. Avoid defrosting frozen meals for dinner, and attempt making one healthy meal a week.

fruitPreservatives, artificial hormones, and processed foods have the ability to alter a child’s tastes, as well as their metabolism. Do your best to eliminate sugary snacks and unnatural sweeteners and replace them with raw carrots and broccoli (or whatever vegetable you can get your child to eat). You will be surprised how your children’s taste buds can change! Eventually they may be happy to eat raw broccoli, or they may lose the taste for sugary cereals and sodas altogether.

The social implications of childhood obesity have the ability to cause severe psychological distress and trauma in kids and adolescents. Not only can children feel different than other kids, but they will also have trouble keeping up on the playground, they may not participate in PE programs and games, they may not feel confident enough to join sports teams, and they can often be chosen last for teams during kids PE games or recess.

These issues have the ability to create antisocial tendencies, low self-esteem, and feelings of self-worthlessness. In some children, this can cause lifelong psychological trauma and confidence issues. As they get older, they may begin to develop health problems, which will only increase the likelihood of depressive tendencies. The body and mind are very closely linked, and mental well-being can be greatly affected by physical health.

A great way to encourage mental well-being in children, despite weight issues, is to consistently encourage physical activity. Limit your kids’ sedentary time in front of the television, computer, or video games. Make exercising more about fun rather than about health or appearance. Implement exercise in daily tasks such as walking around the neighborhood after dinner, or if you live close enough, try to walk your kids to school, to the park, and to their friends’ houses. Simple steps such as these can make a huge difference in your child’s health.

The health and mental risks of obesity among children are very real, and very serious. Take action now to help your child develop into a strong and healthy adult with positive habits, and high self-esteem. There are more than enough obstacles for them to face without considering their weight, so do your part in ensuring their health at a young age!

Author Byline

Amanda is a writer and blogger living in San Diego, CA. She writes on behalf of SPARK PE which strives to foster environmental and behavioral change by providing Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students.

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1 Comment »

  1. There may be something wrong with your on page links. You should have someone take a look at the site.

    Comment by Edgar Chaires — November 13, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

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