Mesa Pediatricians

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

With 1 in 3 children in the United States overweight or obese, we’re putting our kids at risk for countless health problems. Ones that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. AND doing so can be fun!

One of the keys is to get your whole family moving more.

You can do that by building movement and fun into things you have to do anyway.  Here are some examples of how to make activity a part of every day:

  • Does your car need to be washed? Make it a family affair and let everyone play around with the hose.
  • Make chores like making beds, cleaning rooms or loading the dishwasher more fun by making it a race. Try offering stickers or other non-food treats for work accomplished.  And turning music on makes everything more fun!
  • Consider getting everyone in your family a pedometer that measures how many steps you take each day.  Then have a friendly competition to see who walks the most each week.

Build more fun into your time together as well.

  • Consider a treasure hunt in a local park or your neighborhood.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your child-like side either: refresh your skills at the hula hoop, cartwheels or using a hippity hop.
  • Plan a family tug-of-war (remembering to weight the rope more or less evenly, so it may take a group of kids to offset you as an adult!) or set up an obstacle course in your backyard for everyone to run, jump and slide through.  Hoses, hula hoops, kiddie pools — it doesn’t take much to make your backyard more fun.
  • Even babies and toddlers can get into the action: crawl right along with your baby or let them fly like a superhero in the safety of your arms (you get the bonus of a workout too!)

Build fun activities into your special times as well:

  • For your child’s next birthday party, use a sports theme and encourage all of the kids to engage and stay active.
  • Plan hikes or swimming into family vacations

You’ll find more great ideas for how to keep your family active and healthy in this Reader’s Digest article. Or continue on your own with a simple online search.

It doesn’t take a lot.  A little effort on a regular basis will make a huge difference to your whole family.  Get started today!