Year after year world population becomes increasingly obese. Recently, Australia surpassed the United States as the country with the top number of obese people per capita. More and more children are considered obese and not just overweight. This is largely due to the fact that they spend more time in front of a TV or playing computer games and less time exercising. It is a well known fact that obesity is a disease that can be cured, but the solution is not as simple as merely dieting. A total lifestyle overhaul is required to effectively combat this disease.
One of the simplest ways to lower your child’s risk factor of developing obesity is to maintain his minimal daily level of physical activity. Guidelines recommend a minimum 90 minutes per day, 5 days per week of physical activity for any child. This helps to burn out excess of energy and use up excess calories. It also encourages a deeper, more restful sleep. A well-rested child is more responsive to educational programs and ultimately gets better marks in the school. Last but not least, exercise improves your child’s fitness level and increases resistance to a variety of illnesses.
What can you do to increase the level of your child’s physical activity? (Hint) Do not just rush out to buy Nintendo Wii. The easiest and most economical way is to spend more active time outside. There are countless things you can do; rollerblading, bicycling, all kinds of ball games, visiting playgrounds, just to name few. Another benefit of being outside is it lowers the exposure to the often more polluted air indoors.
Now comes the trick part. How do you maintain the physical activity level during rainy days or winter time? For example, statistical data from Environment Canada shows that for Toronto, Ontario 25% (or each 4th day) of the whole year gets weather that is suitable for getting your child to the playground. Other days are too rainy, too cold or too hot. Consider the fact that playgrounds and swing sets on backyards are used just during the summer time. Rest of the year they are useless.