Did you know that only 1 in 4 children gets the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day?
While sitting at a desk studying can certainly boost a student’s grade point average, the alarming increase of a sedentary lifestyle amongst children can increase their risk of cancer.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that the rate of childhood obesity – a major risk factor in multiple cancers – has been steadily increasing. In 2011-2014, 17% of U.S. youth ages 2 to 19 were obese, compared to only 10% in the 1988-1994 survey.
Overweight and obese children are more likely to be overweight and obese in adulthood, putting them at significant risk of endometrial cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, colon cancer, and more.
So, what can parents do to ensure a healthy kid now and into the future?
The National Foundation for Cancer Research has compiled fun and kid-friendly fitness tips to help your family live a cancer-fighting lifestyle.
1. Try a nature scavenger hunt
Are you looking for kids’ activities that don’t cost a dime and are fun for the whole family? Have the kids look for natural objects in your backyard, on your block, or at a nearby park. This adventure is not only exercise for kids but a great opportunity to explore and learn about their natural surroundings.
2. Seek alternative transportation
Everyone is guilty of driving somewhere they could have walked – but did you know that aside from screen-time, an over-dependency on cars and public transportation is the biggest reason kids (and adults) aren’t as active today? Try to incorporate some kid family fitness into your family routine by walking or riding bikes when possible.
3. Assign active chores
During the winter months, it can be challenging to find indoor activities that keep them interested and engaged. Sneaking in some active chores, such as dusting, vacuuming, or cleaning windows, will ensure that you have a healthy kid year-round.
4. Bring outdoor games indoors
Winter months also present the opportunity to turn outdoor activities into indoor activities. Get creative and set up a balloon volleyball net, build obstacle courses, or set up indoor hopscotch.
5. Give gifts that promote kid-friendly fitness
While technology is all the rage amongst kids, gifts such as rollerblades, bicycles, soccer balls, or even active-play video games can help build a healthy kid.
6. Spend the weekend out and about
Getting out of the house is the best way to ensure the family stays active. Walk around the park, go window shopping, or visit the zoo to subtly incorporate exercise for kids – and the adults too!
7. Use competition as a motivator
Start a friendly competition amongst siblings, friends, or parents! Track steps over a day, weekend, or longer – or challenge the family to a one-off push-up contest. The winner gets a prize – even if it is just picking the next competition!
8. Make fitness a social activity
Plan a regular walk with the entire family, neighbors, and/or friends.
9. Plant a garden
Gardens can help kids learn to develop motor and sensory skills while engaging their senses and building an appreciation for the environment. Gardening is also a great opportunity to get moving with regular watering, weeding, digging, and other maintenance.
10. Be a role model
Kids watch and mimic the habits of the adults in their life. If they see their loved ones being physically active and having fun, they will likely be more active throughout their lives!
Are you looking for more ways for your family to live a cancer-free lifestyle? Check out the National Foundation for Cancer Research’s cancer-fighting lifestyle blog.
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