Let's play a little game. I want you to think back, way back to when you were in elementary school. What were some of your favorite recess games? After school games? Personally, I can remember playing red rover, swinging on the monkey bars and at home we would ride our bikes or roller blade with the neighborhood kids. Hopefully you can remember those great childhood memories and how fun it was to be a kid! These days kids are becoming more and more sedentary, meaning they aren't getting out of the house and playing. Instead they're staying in the house, playing video or computer games. Even more so with mobile devices enabling kids to fixate on their games in the car, at the restaurant table, basically everywhere.
It is no coincidence that childhood obesity is currently at an all time high. I can think back to when I was a kid and played Nintendo. It was introduced to the United States in 1985 and was very popular when I was a kid, this was almost thirty years ago. The CDC reports that in the last 30 years childhood obesity has more than tripled. Alright, perhaps there is no direct correlation here because there are a lot of factors that contribute to childhood obesity besides video games. However the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of children is no doubt a contributing factor to childhood obesity.
What can we do to help the increasing incidence of childhood obesity? For starters I think we should encourage our kids to have fun and play outside. For children this can be a perfect way to burn extra energy. My nephews and nieces love to play outside with pogo sticks, bikes, skate boards and the rip stick. Often times outdoor activities can give children a great challenge they may not get at school. Along with lots of energy burning playtime, kids should be getting healthy meals that provide the proper nutrients for their growing bodies and non sugary snacks to keep them going throughout the day. Fresh fruits make a great snack and often when cut up in bite size pieces, make it fun to eat. Taking a moment to remember what it's like to be a kid and have fun can often help adults realize exactly what it is that kids need to grow, be healthy and strong.