Youth fitness has steadily declined over the past decade and childhood obesity is at an all-time high. Our younger generations are facing a severe and growing health crisis as they move away from physical activity and towards anything with a screen. Computers, televisions and electronic game screens have captivated our youth and fast food has become a staple in their diet. Vending machines and school lunches are calorie packed, and with tight education budgets, some school districts throughout Ohio have cut physical education and health classes. These and many other factors have decreased the health and fitness of our youth.

How can we reverse this trend? What can health practitioners and parents do to promote the fitness of our youth and turn the tides of this health crisis? Many say it starts at home – with parents setting limits on screen time and the types of foods that are prepared and served. This is a good start but we must also give parents ways to get their kids moving in a variety of settings, offer programming that is fun for kids and easily accessible, and make these programs affordable and easily reproducible at home. We need to teach kids how to have fun away from the screen and be accountable for their future livelihood.

To engage the kids in this effort, show them how to access information on fun programming in their area. The suburban newspapers are full of all types of seasonal activities for youth. Here are some ideas to help empower kids to make good activity choices:

Dedicate 2 -3 days per week to engage in some sort of physical activity.
Have them identify the types of activities they would like to be involved in and pick one new activity to try.
These activities may be indoor or outdoor and should last at least 30-60 minutes.



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