More and more children are getting obese. The amount of excessively
overweight children has doubled in the last twenty years. Twenty years ago,
only 5% of all children were obese. Today over 15% fall into that
category. Statistics indicate that 30% of all American children are
overweight and 15% are obese. Studies estimate that one in five children
are obese and that the 64% of the world�s total population is overweight.
Twenty-five percent of all pets are overweight. In Arkansas, one in four
children is obese. Over 10% percent of preschool children between ages two
and five in America are overweight. Research has also found lowered self-
esteem in children as young as five who are overweight. Studies show that
children with obesity in their preteens will have a 70% percent chance of
being obese in their adult years.
There are 83 McDonald�s in the island of Manhattan alone, and on the average
in large cities one every quarter mile. Fast food restaurants are
everywhere, including hospitals, schools, and discount superstores.
Advertisers spend billions of dollars on food ads contributing to obesity.
Some of the leading risk factors of coronary heart disease include high
blood fats, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar,
and lack of exercise. These factors are caused by excessive caloric intake
and lack of activity.
High blood fats are caused by the increase and over-consumption of saturated
fat. Parents must limit their children�s diet to less than 25% fat and only
10% saturated fat. A poor diet and excessive weight gain causes obesity.
Children must have regulated healthy diets to maintain a healthy weight.
Parents can also help with overeating by resigning themselves and their
children from the clean plate club. Let children fill their plates
themselves and prohibiting them from eating snacks from bags; instead have
them put snacks into a small plate or bowl. Excess calories can be
eliminated by teaching children to have smaller portions and limit their
second servings of meal helpings.
Type 2 Diabetes, once considered a disorder for overweight adults, is now a
major factor in children�s medical problems. Cheap fat, refined
carbohydrates and processed foods cause children to develop problems with
their livers, pancreas, and digestive systems quite early. Some parents
have reported elimination of their child�s undesirable behavior, Asperger�s
syndrome, and ADHD with the removal of unhealthy foods. Last of all obesity
has soared with the excessive availability of poor food choices in lunches
and cafeterias in the country. Some school cafeterias� selections gross
over 1,000 calories for one meal. This is ridiculous considering that the
average daily caloric intake for an elementary child should be at about 1800-
Children are also more sedentary now than ever before. By the age of
seventeen, a child has spent 38% more time in front of the television than
in school. Instead of running on the playground, they play computer games
and prefer to stay inside and watch television to doing activities outside.
Children are not getting enough physical activity. Studies show that
children need 30 to 60 minutes of activity most days of the week. Physical
Education classes typically only allow children to be vigorously exercising
three minutes a day. In 1969, 80% of all children played sports. Today
only 20% of all children regularly participate in sports.
Parents can reverse the curse of inactivity by limiting television time,
taking a family walk, and spending time playing at the local recreational
center or park district. Parents should walk as much as possible and
encourage their children to do so as well. A side benefit will result in
improved communication time walking with other family members.
A successful parent must live a consistent lifestyle by eating healthy,
limiting their visits to fast food restaurants, and exercising regularly.
By doing that, you are helping children avoid the diseases and health
problems of the present and preparing them for a healthy future.
Baylor College of Medicine
Cole, Leslie, Don�t be Heavy-Handed in Dealing with Overweight Child, Oregon
Live, May 11, 2004
Fahley, Thomas D. Fitness for Kids and Teens, Santa Barbara, CA
International Sports and Sciences Association, 2003
Fahley, Thomas D.Youth Fitness Trainer, Santa Barbara, CA: International
Sports and Sciences Association, 2003
Health: Kids� Obesity may be Worse Than Thought
Overcoming Obesity in America: A Special Report from Time, Time Magazine.,
June 7, 2004
One Obesity Remedy: Get Out and Play
Parents Hope Diet Might Help Kids� Behavior
Supersize Me Movie Site
Welcome to Operation Fit Kids!
Sports for a Lifetime
Sports are a wonderful opportunity to teach children valuable skills that
will last a lifetime. All adults involved in a child�s life need to have
the proper athletic perspective . They must be sensitive to why a child is
interested in playing sports. Does the child want to compete or have just
fun and social community with others?
Next, parents should consider a child�s interest and abilities. Does the
child have a natural ability in a specific athletic area or an interest? In
both cases, an adult working with the child must not discourage those
desires and abilities. Specialization of sports should not occur until high
What activities are developmentally appropriate for the child? Sports are
divided in three basics types. Complex movement sports are organized games
such as hockey, football, or basketball. Technically-oriented activities
include gymnastics, cheerleading or tumbling. Fitness-oriented sports
include running and strength training. Never force but gently steer the
child that you are working with to the area which suits them best.
Coaches, parents, and personal trainers must always insist on proper form
and technique. If a child learns the proper methods for accomplishing the
sport, they will have fewer injuries and more practice time to improve in
Safety should be another factor in playing sports. Developmentally,
the child should be ready to start the sport and have the emotional
stability to complete the fitness task. Sports are a wonderful opportunity
to teach good mental, physical, and social habits that will last for a
Lifetime Fitness for the Young Child
Every adult in a child�s life has the possibility to make a positive
difference in that young person�s life. This positive influence can be felt
in a variety of ways. Most important, make sports and fitness activities
fun. Specialization of sports should not begin until adolescence. Allow a
child to have the opportunity to try as many kinds of athletic activities as
he shows an interest. Keep the environment of fitness safe and exciting.
Find out the reason for the child�s desire to be involved in the activity.
Is it to play with his friends or to develop in a particular sport or
activity? Winning should not be the result of competing in sports. There
should be more focus on skill development rather than on perfect
Teaching children proper form is also essential. It is more
important to do a skill a few times correctly than to have incorrect form
for many repetitions. Take small steps in order to achieve success. Every
child should have an opportunity to play in every game. Children should
have a chance to take lessons and perfect skills such as throwing, catching,
and hitting. This can be in a session with an experienced coach or trainer
in a private or group session just a few times a week.
Be understanding of other events happening in a child�s life.
Overtraining is inevitable with the forced pressure of homework, other
social commitments, and sports. Helping children not burn out on an
activity will provide them with a love of sports and fitness in the future.
Kids� Sports Injuries 101
There are general guidelines about when to call a doctor for a sport
or exercise injury. I will first discuss guidelines to waiting and seeing
if the injury needs medical attention. Secondly, I will discuss how to talk
to children about waiting and listening to their body. Lastly, I will
outline injuries that require a prompt doctor�s visit.
Minor injuries of the muscles and joints do not generally require a
visit to the doctor. Pains from minor injuries caused by generally resolve
themselves after initial rest, stretching, and then systematically
strengthening. If the pain does not disappear in a few weeks, generally it
is recommended that the child should go to a doctor. It is essential to
teach children what delay onset muscle soreness is what it feels like.
Educate them so they understand what is happening in their muscular
systems. A student should learn to wait and see how the injury feels.
Listening to their body is an effective way to know if the pain warrants a
visit to the physician. The child should learn the difference between
discomfort and pain beyond tolerance. If the pain is severe, prompt
attention to the doctor is necessary.
Visits to the doctor that should have immediate attention and
include injuries to the head and eyes, a injury that is accompanied by
swelling, broken bones, and a injury caused by sudden force. Chest pains,
fainting, and heat intolerances should also be promptly tended. In general,
it is better to play it safe than risk a student with a serious injury.
Ignoring pain may lead to a longer recovery at best but could also be a
lifetime of discomfort and a lack of function if left untreated.
Basics for a Good Elementary Fitness Program
Children in a elementary school fitness program should learn to love
physical activities, develop basic motor and perceptual abilities. There
should be an emphasis on balance, body and space awareness, hand/eye
coordination, and running skills. Specialization of skills should be saved
for the junior high elementary program.
A good program should involve personalization for each child. A child
who is slow or handicapped should receive the same attention as a gifted
athlete. Children should learn to love physical education and see the
importance of adding it to their daily routine.
Children must learn to master running, jumping, throwing, and
catching. Proper form must be emphasized and systematically taught.
Children should have opportunities to work on their perceptual-motor
abilities and overcome any perceptual motor deficiencies. Children need to
learn the rules and basics for sports and specific instruction to work on
the general skills needed for that sport. Sports should be taught for a
It is important for children to have a positive image of their
bodies and learn how to perform in any given sport. Children need to set
their own expectations not rely on others to set expectations for them.
Having these traits in elementary school physical education program will
promote positive experiences for the learner in later life.