Children and Exercise

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In our society today one of the most difficult problems we are facing is the large numbers of obesity in our children. One of the major factors in that is this; our children have become less physically active. At an early age children start watching TV, learn how to operate a computer, and play video games. Having technological skills is now a necessity in all of our lives because everything has turned "computerized," but the fact is that our children are relying on these types of entertainment rather than getting up and physically exercising to entertain them selves. This directly affects the large number of obese children in our country today because of the lack of physical exercise. It is not that we want our kids to look a certain way or to be better at sports than everyone else, but it is that we want our kids to be physically fit and to develop a healthy lifestyle. Physical exercise is not only for adults, it is for children as well, so we must understand the importance of our children exercising and the benefits from it. By doing that it will make an impact on that child for the rest of his/her life.

The reason we should be hesitant to allow our children to watch TV or play video games is that once a child does that, then he/she starts to enjoy it and wants to do it more and more. It becomes an event that they look forward to doing. Whether it is anxiously waiting on a certain TV show to come on, or hurrying in the house to get to their favorite video game. Children have become obsessed with these types of entertainment and have completely forgot about physical activities. Children do not look forward to getting some friends over to play football in the backyard as much anymore. They look forward to getting friends over to go inside and play a video game while eating chips and drinking cokes. Not only are they eating wrong foods, but also they are cutting out the physical activities to burn those calories off. Granted children should have restrictions on the types of food they eat, I am not taking anything away from that fact. But if a child is at least exercising then he/she will burn off a lot of those calories consumed in those unhealthy foods. So one question to ask is this; why are children becoming more dependent on technology rather than physical activity?

Parents play a huge role in answering this question. A parent's influence on a child begins even before conception and never ends from that point on. Children are always watching and learning, and even as an adult, a son or daughter will still be influenced by their parents whether it be for something happening present time, or in the past. If a parent has a healthy exercise routine then it is likely that the child will want to pick that habit up as well. But on the other side, if a parent does not have good exercise habits, then the child will likely pick that up as well. As parents, our nation has become fixated on putting our kids in front of a TV to occupy time. We think if we can put our children down in front of that TV and be able to walk away and "not have to deal with them" then we have accomplished something. But in doing that, all that happens is that the child becomes dependent on TV entertainment. Then when "Dad" gets home each night he sits down in his lazy chair and watches TV until he goes to sleep. To the child, this just reassures the fact that watching television is a daily routine for everybody. Susan Kalish put it right on the dot when she said this; "Children are a reflection of their parents, and their society. If children are taught by sedentary, over weight teachers, brought up by inactive parents, and watch their grandparents retire only to sink into armchairs, it should surprise nobody that youngsters follow the examples they see." (Kalish) But if "mommy and daddy" knew all of the risks of their child NOT exercising then they might want to change some of the habits at home.

According to the American Heart association,...
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