Helpful Tips: How to Have Fun and Get Healthier

The current statistics are alarming: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overweight/obesity rate in children today is triple that of just a generation ago. One in 3 children in the United States is now overweight and at increased risk for serious medical problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Although the child obesity crisis is a complex problem, Let's Move!—an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010—is helping parents and caregivers, teachers and school administrators, community and faith leaders, organizations and private companies to work together to find simple solutions.

There are some simple steps parents can take to improve their children’s health. Here, we focus on ways to get your child away from the television, computer or video game, and up and moving—for at least one hour every day.

  1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep every day. Several studies have linked inadequate sleep to unhealthy weight—in children and adults. In fact, one study indicated that obesity risk in kids who don't get enough sleep is more than 4 times higher than for kids who get the recommended amount of sleep most nights of the week.
  2. Limit media time to no more than 1 or 2 hours a day total. On average, children and adolescents in the United States now spend about 7 1/2 hours every day using entertainment media such as television, video games, computers and cell phones. Turn off the TV during mealtimes and don't put a television or computer in your child's room.
  3. Visit Let's Move! for helpful ways to get your family started on the right path towards a healthier lifestyle. Children need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. But, it doesn't have to be all at once—it all adds up!
  4. Make your plan—together. Let's Move! provides some great online tools you can explore with your kids. Involve your whole family in deciding Where to Go and What to Do during school vacations. Set your goals, draft a schedule and make physical activity part of your family’s routine.
  5. Don't forget to eat right. Save time and money this summer and have more of both for doing things you enjoy. Get your children involved in planning (and cooking!) meals and grocery shopping and you'll be pleasantly surprised how easy it can be to make healthy changes.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 24 May 2012

Last Modified: 13 Jan 2015