Here is a letter to the editor I sent representing the American Heart Association…..
Get into Olympics spirit with regular exercise for kids
With childhood obesity now the number-one health concern among parents in the United States, it’s more important than ever to encourage our children to eat right and get moving. With the 2012 Summer Olympics underway this week in London, it’s the perfect time for parents and adults to make exercise fun for kids with the “thrill of victory.”
According to the American Heart Association, about one in three kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. In fact, nearly 14 percent of preschool children ages 2 to 5 were overweight in 2004—up from 10 percent in 2000. Overweight kids have a 70-80 percent chance of staying overweight their entire lives, and unfortunately, obesity is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases—the number-one killer of Americans in our nation.
Olympic athletes can inspire children to compete, but can also encourage children to simply participate in activity. By making exercise fun, parents can help their children reach the American Heart Association recommended 60 minutes of play per day for heart health.
Parents don’t need to buy expensive equipment to host a backyard, kiddy Olympics pool party or a hula hoop competition. Kids can create their own pentathlons or obstacle courses in the backyard or local park and invite other neighborhood kids to participate.
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