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Keep Kids Moving

Obesity Risk Starts Young
 
If nannies and caregivers can do just one thing to ensure the future physical health of youngsters, it's to get kids moving. A study in North Carolina found that too much television and too few recreational opportunities mean not enough physical activity and a higher lifetime risk of obesity (www.cfah.org).
 
The adults were often unaware of how much TV was actually being watched by the elementary-age girls in the study. The adults cared about the type of television programs the girls watched, but not the length of time they sat in front of the screen.  Many saw television as an electronic babysitter, pacifying the children while the adults took care of other chores around the house.
 
This inactivity can have long-term health effects. Sedentary children become inactive adolescents and adults, which increases the likelihood of obesity.
 
The Lure of TV
 
Neither the girls nor the adults showed much interest in going outdoors to play.  Either television was too attractive, or they believed their neighborhoods lacked recreational activities or were unsafe for play. The adults understood the health benefits of physical activity but lacked the motivation to take part themselves, which is poor role modeling.
 
There are fun options beyond television. When asked about physical activities they enjoyed with their friends or on their own, the girls listed hopscotch, jumping rope, dancing, swimming and bicycling. To reduce risk for obesity among such girls, caregivers can play a big part in motivating kids to do these physical activities - and better yet, to do the activities right along with them.

By Chris Navarro
Get Nanny Jobs, Contributing Editor

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