Experts say that many American children may be on their way to an inactive adulthood, based on observations of how they spend their days.
That thought is a bit frightening, considering that physical inactivity is one of the primary risk factors for heart disease.
Experts agree that coronary/heart disease is a hereditary condition, but behaviors that begin in childhood can increase or decrease the risk of heart disease.
Here are some ways to help children get fit and stay fit, for a lifetime of healthy living:
• First, provide a good example yourself. Children who have active parents are more likely to be active than children who do not. Plan family activities, or even after-dinner walks, several times a week. Make these activities fun for all involved.
• Make sure children are active at home. Keep sports equipment on hand and encourage lifelong activities such as tennis, biking, or running. Children who enjoy these activities may well continue them into adulthood.
• Unplug the TV. There’s a correlation between TV watching and low fitness rates, eating more junk food, obesity, and high cholesterol.
Watching TV and playing computer games are passive activities usually involving no movement at all. We’ve all seen young people mesmerized by what is on the screen, often unaware that they are sitting still for so long.
The inactivity may be more dangerous, in the long run, than any potentially objectionable material on the screen that might soon be forgotten.
So make fitness a family affair and it will have benefits that last a lifetime.