Helping kids stay at a healthy weight can be a challenge. French fries and video games are pretty tempting. But good nutrition and physical activity matter. It helps kids avoid chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout childhood also sets them up for a lifetime of good health habits that, research says, can improve not just how they move, but how they learn.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted children’s daily routines and structure, many of which revolved around nutrition, physical activity and sleep. Doctors and physicians have noticed increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) (a measure of body weight to height) among many of their pediatric patients. Lack of exercise and quality nutrition during childhood poses a threat to a child’s growth and development during these formative years. Minority and vulnerable groups of children are at a higher risk for poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and higher BMI.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day at least five days of every week. Many doctors recommend emphasizing structure around mealtimes, eating habits, and sleep schedules. There are some great tools parents can use to get their kids on track:
- Helping Kids Maintain a Healthy Body Weight: Tips for helping your child maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Nutrition for Kids - Age-specific nutrition guidelines for a healthy diet
- The Importance of Family Mealtime: Set the example for your child through family mealtime
- 11 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active: Tips for promoting physical activity
- Get Family Fit - Family Activity Points: Be a role model for your child and get active with them
- Barriers to Fitness - Overcoming Common Challenges: How to move past obstacles standing in the way of physical activity
Learn more about nutrition, physical activity, and other programs and talk to your child’s health care provider today about ways for your children to stay at a healthy weight.