September is technically National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. But, as parents, we probably should focus on childhood obesity every month, right?

Still, it’s important to bring awareness to such an important subject. As pant sizes in the United States keep getting larger, so do our kiddos. Their weight as kids can affect them throughout their lives.

Scary facts: One in three kids in the U.S. is overweight or obese. And, 43% of parents say their children would rather sit in front of the TV than play outside.

The Internet Takes Over

A couple of decades ago, before internet and electronics were everywhere, kids were always outside. I remember, as a kid, getting excited to play outside. I swam, ran, swung, played ball, played hide and seek in the woods. I would have spent all day outside if I could.

 

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It’s so fun to get outside and just be silly!

I’m fortunate that my kids love being outside as much as I do. But, I was a preschool teacher once. As I excitedly lined up my class to get on the playground, many of them met me with groans – and even cries. It boggled my mind how many kiddos would complain when they had to step foot outside for outdoor education.

But, it’s the way of the world now. Why go outside when we have a perfectly good iPad to use, right? Children aren’t really the ones to blame. We responsible adults are.

Perhaps we glue ourselves to our own phones too much? And, are we really doing all we can to make sure our kids get outside?

Fighting Childhood Obesity, One Active Step(fan) at a Time

Fortunately, there are some childhood obesity warriors out there who work to bring awareness to the desperate situation. Stepfan Taylor is one of them.

The NFL running back grew up an overweight kid. He was athletic, but always self-conscious of his body compared to others. He’d even wear t-shirts in the pool to cover his body. By 6th grade, though, Stepfan decided to make a difference in his life by getting more active and eventually making it to the NFL.

After an injury caused Stepfan to put his football career on hold. But, the time off has given him the chance to turn to something else that’s deeply important to him: childhood obesity. He even became the co-creator of ROXs, a gaming system designed to get kids on their feet and moving around.

He also works to educate families on the importance of an active lifestyle for our world’s most vulnerable group.

Combat childhood obesity

Important Tips for Getting Little Butts Off the Couch

These tips are directly from Stepfan himself to help encourage children to get moving:

  1. Kids learn most of their traits from their parents by observing their behaviors. Make sure you are leading by example and joining in on physical activities when you can such as hikes, bike rides or taking yoga and aerobic classes together.
  2. Establish a regular routine and limit screen time. Set up a weekly schedule of when and how long children can watch television. Also schedule daily pre-or post-dinner family walks or other activities.
  3. Find or create interactive games that will not only get kids on their feet, but will get their imaginations working as well. If there’s a fun twist to an activity kids will be more willing to do it. ROXs Run&Scan is a new game that combines tech kids love with imagination and exercise. It’s basically a real-life video game where kids are the characters and must complete tasks and activities to earn points and win.
  4. Don’t raise kids to think of doing physical activity as a punishment. Reward them for doing homework or a household chore with a game of kickball or a visit to a park.
  5. A fun and productive way to get kids physically active is making household chores and lawn work into a fun game to see who can accomplish a task the fastest or put on some music that will get kids dancing along while completing tasks.

Parents: It’s Up to You!

Are you setting the example you want for your kids? Get off the couch, get outside, play a game of kickball with your kids.

I’ll be the first to admit that the last thing I feel like doing after work is exercising. But, I find that when I make it fun, I exercise without thinking. How do I make it fun? By getting my kids involved!

Fighting childhood obesity with activity
Visiting the track is our favorite way to get outside, stay active, and have fun.

We have a running track at the end of our road. It’s our favorite spot to go for a friendly “race”. My son loves being in 1st place, so that motivates him to keep going when I’m on his tail. My daughter wants to keep beating her 1-mile run record. I just have a lot of fun seeing their motivation and getting myself healthy in the process!

We all need to work together to make our children healthier. Put down the game controller and create an obstacle course outside. I guarantee it won’t just be good for your body, but also for your mind!

How does your family stay active together? What tip from Stepfan was your favorite? Go ahead and leave me a comment and let me know!

Amy is a 33-year-old Mama of two, freelance writer, and work-at-home business owner. Through The Work at Home Mom, she provides articles and tips for moms to balance their personal lives and careers. Amy contributes to Reader’s Digest Online and other health, parenting, and lifestyle publications.

5 Replies to “Get Off Your Butt and Get Moving with Your Kids for Childhood Obesity”

  1. This is so, so important to me! It’s so sad to see kids that are severely overweight. I’m sure it’s hard on parents, especially when you have to work and then come home and basically work some more, but it’s so important to start kids on a healthy track early!

  2. I totally agree with you! I think that as parents we sometimes get lazy and just want to give our kids something to do that doesn’t take a lot of effort. But by becoming a parent, we are responsible for teaching our kids healthy ways of living. I love your point about rewarding our kids with physical activities!

  3. I love this, I am a cheerleading coach, so the kids are forced to move around when they are in the gym. It is hard to make sure they are moving at home as well! This is a great article!

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