How to Get Kids Moving
Thursday, June 27, 2013
A recent study from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said that many kids are not getting enough exercise or eating healthy.
The study surveyed 10,000 kids ages 11-16 and found that only half get enough exercise, a recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, and only one-third have a healthy diet.
How You Can Help:
Children’s National Health System’s sports medicine pediatrician Nailah Coleman, MD, said the most important thing to do is plan a physical activity. “Make a decision the day before, or a few days, before that you will be doing something physical with the whole family,” said Dr. Coleman.
How to Plan Activities for Your Child:
- Have several options available based on energy level and age appropriateness
- For example, a 7 or 8 year old cannot weight lift or participate in a 5-mile jog, but he could go for a hike or a 1-mile jog
- Set a time frame for the activity
- Follow everyone’s mood. If the family seems ready to go right after a heavy meal, it’s time to seize the day and play!
The study also suggested that many kids have unhealthy diets; here are some tips to make meals more nutritious:
- Eat balanced meals:
- 3-5 servings of vegetables
- 2-4 servings of fruit
- 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, or pasta
- 2-3 servings of protein like lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, or egg
- 2-3 servings of dairy
- When cooking for your child, try to bake, steam, or broil instead of frying
- Decrease your child's sugar intake. Try giving milk or water instead of juice or soda
- Eat fruits or vegetables for a snack
- Use fat-free or low-fat mayo, sour cream, and salad dressings
- Decrease the use of butter and heavy gravies
- Eat more lean chicken, fish, and beans for protein
How do you create healthy habits for your kids?
About the Expert
Nailah Coleman, MD, FAAP, is a sports medicine pediatrician in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. She is board certified in both pediatrics and sports medicine. During her training, Dr. Coleman worked in four different hospital environments and had the opportunity to see children at different life stages and assess their growth and wellness.