Do Your Part to Help Fight Childhood Obesity

Get Your Kids Involved in Sports Activities After School

The rate of childhood obesity has grown alarmingly over the years.  Over the past three decades, obesity rates in the United States have tripled, leaving one in every three children overweight.  These children will be at a heightened risk for health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.  In addition, one-third of all children born during or after the year 2000 will one day suffer from diabetes.  Fortunately, there are plans for fighting this obesity epidemic.  Governments, both local and national, are working with schools and organizations to revamp physical education programs for children as well as provide more health and nutritional information.  However, a key component to getting children in shape is you, the parent.  You have the power to set your children on track to a lifetime of healthy habits and prevent obesity from ever becoming an issue in your child’s life.

It is not enough for children to exercise at gym class during school.  In order to get children serious about exercise, they must participate in physical activities outside of school.  Participating in sports activities with your children is not only an opportunity to spend some quality time with them, but also to improve their physical fitness.  Basketball is a particularly good sport to play with your child because it requires vigorous exercise.  A combination of running, jumping, and catching, basketball does not give participants any opportunity to slack off.  Full-court basketball burns roughly 850 calories per hour, a very good rate if practiced often.  Soccer is another good choice for getting your children in shape as that sport also requires the players to be in constant motion.

However, this should not be interpreted as saying that some sports are ineffective for keeping children in shape.  Baseball looks like it involves very little physical activity, yet it burns up to 390 calories per hour and improves hand-eye coordination, so it will improve children’s abilities at all sports to a certain degree.  You should introduce your children to as many sports as possible to find out which ones they prefer and to prevent them from growing bored with a particular game.  If you do not have access to sports equipment, try enrolling your children in after-school program activities for various sports.

Besides getting your children interested in exercise, you must introduce them to good habits in all aspects of their health.  Restrict their fast food consumption (and eliminate it completely if possible), prepare balanced, nutritious meals, and teach them to eat healthy portions.  Children must combine proper eating habits and sufficient exercise in order to have a chance at a healthy lifestyle.


I am a writer and blogger living in San Diego, CA. With this post, I hope to bring awareness to the dangers of childhood obesity and solutions to combat this epidemic that is affecting our kids. With entertaining after-school program activities and fun physical education programs being implemented by our schools, we can defeat childhood obesity and give our kids a brighter, healthier future.

4 thoughts on “Do Your Part to Help Fight Childhood Obesity

  • November 30, 2010 at 4:46 am

    There are tons of different things for kids to get involved in. Sports is not the only answer so I agree with you both. I think that just getting kids more active is essential to curbing the obesity crisis. Just get them from in front of the television please.

  • November 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    There’s a catch to this that some parents may encounter. Some children – both boys and girls – simply are not interested in sports. It’s not an issue about laziness, it’s genuine disinterest and you’ll never get them to stick to the sport. If you try to force them then they’ll hate the sport and they’ll “hate” you, too!

    I was one of those kids, and I assure that they will not “learn that they like it”. They’ll just grow to dislike it (and resent you) more. I’m talking from experience. To this day I don’t like baseball, basketball, or football.

    The trick is to broaden your horizons. What was my “thing”? Karate! As a kid I loved the cheesy old kung-fu movies as well as the Van Damme, Bruce Lee, and other movies.

    Depending on the practice for a given day, karate can burn anywhere from a few hundred calories up to about 1,000 calories. It additionally builds strength, improves cardiovascular health and improves hand-eye coordination. It also improves attitude, because any good dojo will focus on a sense of respect in addition to everything else.

    It’s also a lot safer than what you see in movies. There’s all kinds of protective gear that you can get, and the instructors will definitely talk to you about safety issues.

    There’s also a strong sense of accomplishment when they get their next belt rank. Trust me, they’ll work hard for it and they’ll be PROUD of their hard work! (Don’t worry parents, instructors almost certainly won’t fail a kid’s belt test, but they’ll still make the kids work hard for it)

    Don’t limit yourself to sports with the word “ball” in it, and don’t lose hope. There are plenty of boys & girls at my dojo, and if it’s not karate then maybe it’s ice-skating, or track & field, or cheer leading, or any number of other things.

    Good luck!

    • November 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for sharing and bringing up such a great point. This was true for me, however, I preferred to go out hiking rather than playing any type of team sport like baseball, football or basketball. I agree that it cannot be forced on kids or else they will grow to hate it (which, of course, defeats the purpose of trying to develop healthy exercise habits in the long run).

      Just like how you pointed out that you have both boys & girls in your dojo, I found that some activities (like rock climbing, which I enjoyed doing) have a stigma attached that might make kids hesitant to participate. It’s very important for parents to not only encourage their children to enjoy the activities they are doing but to also learn helpful skills in overcoming “naysayers” and the like.

      Values that are intertwined in activities, like with Karate or Tae Kwon Do, are also a great way to help children mature on an emotional level as well. Team sports can help in some cases, but other activities can be just as constructive. Thanks again for bringing up so vital points!

  • November 27, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Great post. I’ve found that a good way to introduce healthier foods to finicky eaters is by trying something new together – as a family. Also, if they lend a hand in preparation, they can also learn while having fun and may be more apt to try it.


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