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Friday, 19 October 2012

Challenging Children

Life constantly changes and that can sometimes pose challenges. Both for us and our children. Right now a phenomenon called passive obesity is proving to be a real issue.
It’s happening because the amount of calories kids consume is in excess of what their body requires to stay fit and healthy. It’s causing problems not just with weight gain but diabetes, joint problems, high blood pressure and heart problems later in life.
What’s occurring?
Lifestyle changes are making some kids far less active, so they’d rather mooch around watching TV or chat to their mates on Facebook than slap on a pair of trainers to meet down the local park. On top of this, there’s an increase in snack and junk food consumption with calorie intake hitting an all time high, so it’s not surprising there’s been a health shift.
Last year’s National Childhood Measurement Programme did not make for easy reading (feel free to peak from behind the sofa). It shows that 22 cent of under fives and 33 per cent of 11 year olds are overweight or obese. But enough of the depressing stats! The good news is small shifts can make a huge difference.
An hour a day can really pay
Yesterday, David Cameron stated that there needs to be "a big cultural change" towards sport in schools with a return to the "competitive ethos" in school sports. The British Medical Association (BMA) recommends kids do an hour’s minimum moderate exercise every day. Those sixty minutes can transform children's lives and their health. The even better news is it doesn’t all have to be in one go. It should be fun! And now, on the crest of the most successful Olympics for team GB for 100 years, is the time to get started.
How being active helps kids…
• Encourages strong bones and muscles
• Keeps healthy weight
• Increases confidence and self-esteem
• Improves balance and co-ordination
• Builds flexibility and endurance
• Encourages healthier lifestyle habits
Helping kids live happily ever active
We all want to see kids being happy and healthy.  Parents should help children to achieve their full potential and develop into active adults. It’s the reason behind everything we do.                      

Virgin Active is committed to helping children achieve their personal best
Every age matters

Children under five

Children under five who can walk unaided should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (three hours), spread throughout the day, indoors or out.
If your child is under five, you should encourage them to do:
  • light activity, and
  • more energetic physical activity

Children and young people aged 5 to 18

Children and young people aged 5 to 18 should do at least 60 minutes (one hour) of aerobic activity every day. This should include a mix of:
  • moderate-intensity activities: this means your child is working hard enough to raise their heart rate and break a sweat, and
  • vigorous-intensity activities: this means they're breathing hard and fast, and their heart rate has gone up quite a bit
As part of your child’s 60 or more minutes, they should also do activities that strengthen their muscles and bones.
For examples of activities, see:
  • What counts as moderate-intensity aerobic activity?
  • What counts as vigorous-intensity aerobic activity?
  • What counts as muscle-strengthening activity?
  • What counts as bone-strengthening activity?

How you can help your child

You can help by encouraging your child to find activities they enjoy, and by building physical activity into family life. Most children love running around a park or playing in a playground. Live Well has more tips for how to get active with your kids.
Team sports, such as football, basketball and volleyball, can also be great fun. If your child doesn’t like team sports, there are plenty of other activities, such as dance and martial arts. Try the sport quiz to find out what sports might suit you or your child.
Let the fun begin!

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