Tips for parents

09/12/2011 6:38 PM

09/12/2011 6:38 PM

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in the U.S., and with the intent of lowering childhood obesity rates by keeping America's kids fit and active, the American Council on Exercise recommends the following:

Set a good example for your kids. Instead of spending the evening in front of the television, find some activity that will keep you moving. In warm weather, bike outdoors. If it's too cold, get a stationary bike, a treadmill or a trampoline.

Eat healthy. Instead of high-calorie foods and snacks, turn to fruits and other healthy foods.

Keep the television out of the child's bedroom. According to an American Academy of Pediatrics study, children ages 1 to 5 years who have televisions in their bedrooms watch nearly five hours more TV and videos each week than children without TV sets in their rooms and are more likely to be overweight.

Take your kids with you for a gym workout. YMCAs and health clubs have expanded programs for kids and parents (e.g., parent/child yoga and Pilates, youth circuit classes and family personal training).

Head to the mall for a walk. Many malls are open early for morning walkers and are a great way to get physical activity with the kids. Parents can split up with their children into teams and each can compete to reach a certain store in the shortest amount of time.

Show kids that being active is fun. So take your kids hiking, biking, dancing, sledding, swimming and in-line skating. Skip rope or shoot baskets with them.

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