Fitness is critical to Child Health. For a complete Overview on Kids Fitness, see the fitness section of the kids and teens site.
The key points from the above Fitness article are as follows:
- There are countless benefits to being fit. These include stronger heart and lungs, reduced chance of diabetes, better emotional behaviour, better academic performance, higher energy levels, more likely to be better at sport, improved weight control, enhance and self esteem and self confidence, opportunities to get another network of friends.
- Fitness can mean physical and mental fitness
- Fitness is a generic concept, there is no commonly agreed meaning although various groups and governments have defined it in certain specific terms
- There have been many fitness tests (e.g. on BMI, flexibility, strength, aerobic capacity) carried out on school children throughout the world and in some instances these results have been compared to previous eras. In general, children are getting fatter, weaker and less flexible than children born years ago.
The reason children are getting less fit is due to a few key factors. They are typically
- Getting less exercise in school (due to school timetable pressures)
- Getting less exercise out of school (due to increased home-life time pressures and more time spent doing sedentary activities like watching TV, playing on tablets and iPhones)
- Eating less healthy foods like sugar laden drinks and snacks, processed foods and saturated fatty foods as opposed to more healthy options such as lean meats, fresh vegetables, salads, pasta etc.
To reverse this trend for your child you must be a great role model and get fit yourself and encourage your family to do fun but energetic activities (bike riding, walking etc.). Encourage your child to participate in sports and activities rather than spending too much time glued to a screen indoors. Also ensure foods are nutritious and fresh, children are properly hydrated and get sufficient sleep.