Tips to Help Your Child Stay Healthy and Fit

Australian kids are getting a lot of attention. But we shouldn’t be happy about the news. It turns out that they are getting bigger and bigger.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that about 16% of children ages 6 to 19 are overweight today, and that number is steadily going up.

Being overweight as a child has the same risks as being overweight as an adult: heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, signs of type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

Experts say that children should be active for at least an hour every day. Is your kid always this busy?

Parents have a big impact on what their kids eat and how much they play. Helping your child keep a healthy weight takes a long-term commitment and changes that the whole family should be on board with.

The experts at NIDDK have come up with a few ideas.

* Show others how to behave. Plan things to do as a family, like going hiking, biking, dancing, or playing basketball. Include kids in active chores like walking the dog, washing the car, or mowing the lawn.

* Don’t forget to keep things fun. Younger kids are more likely to enjoy exercise if it doesn’t feel like exercise. You could play on a jungle gym, throw a Frisbee, or play chase. For older kids, try to get them to take physical education classes or do things they enjoy and will do every day.

* Limit your screen time. Your child may be interested in the TV or other screens for hours, which may make them less likely to be active and make them eat more calories. Cut down on your child’s screen time by getting them to do other things, like play outside or move around during commercials. A few minutes of exercise here and there can really add up.

One of the best things you can do for your child is to promise to live a fit and healthy life as a family.