Making a difference to the child obesity statistics...bring back play for everyone.

You can change the child obesity statistics, we all can. In the same way that you make small, but very profound changes to your actions to lose weight and maintain it. You can make small, gradual changes to your childrens lives which will shift the balance.

Start by working with one of the child obesity facts.

One of the facts that has contributed to the large child obesity statistics is that our kids aren't getting enough exercise, they're not moving enough.

I understand the difficulties that can arise when you change a child's routine, or introduce something new. It's often hardest on the parents and the people around them...they get to rant and rage and throw tantrums, and we're the ones who have to deal with it.

But it's a small price to pay for their health. Even if your child is not overweight, more moving won't do them any harm... don't put them on a marathon training schedule, that may be a little overboard, but realistically short of that, getting them more active will do them good.

Getting active, moving more.

Firstly, you can do this without the added expense of enrolling them in an after school activity, or getting them into a sporting team.

Play is the key. How do you get them to play? Limit the television.

Yes, I know it's a godsend for those hard days, or when they're sick (or when you are). But you know, and I know, that too much television is contributing to those child obesity statistics staying high.

Kids rely on schedule and routine, so to totally remove the television in one go, is asking for a big rebellion, and really I don't want to take it off my children entirely...there's some great shows on, and I might get sick soon, and need them to watch it to save my sanity.

But it's easy to let things slip, and a little bit of television, or computer games, quickly becomes the activity they spend most of their time at.

Strategies for getting them moving

Start by not letting them turn on the television in the morning until all the jobs they need to do for school are done, and it's 30 minutes before you're going to leave.

If it's 30 minutes before you go, and they're not television. Watch how fast they get ready! And you know that they're only going to be glued to it for 30 minutes.

You can slowly decrease this time until you get to the point where there's no television in the morning. Yes, they'll argue, yes, they'll say it's not fair, yes' they're going to give you a hard time. But explain to them why you're doing it. And they'll only argue till they realise you're serious...then they'll argue with you over something else!

I have found that my kids will find something else to do, and while it may not be running the mile in under 10 seconds, no matter what it is, even reading, it's more engaging and more moving than if the t.v.'s on.

After school can be handled the same. Mine watch some t.v. while they have an after school snack, and then I started getting them to turn it off. One of them then helps me prepare dinner, and the other two find something else to do.

That's how I started, getting them to turn it off. Now, I've found that they quite often drift away from it without needing it off.

They all know who's turn it is to help with dinner, so they come into the kitchen with me, and the others will quite often wander outside, or into their rooms...leaving the television to entertain the empty room...bad for the electricity bill, but great for the kids.

Getting out there with them

Children absorb what they see much more than what they hear. Telling them that playing, and moving, and less television is good for them, and why, will help. The best thing you can do though, is 'practice what you preach'.You can make a difference to the child obesity statistics...and to yourself too.

When kids see you getting outside, turning the television off, going for a walk, kicking a ball around, or taking your bike for a ride, they are more likely to do the same.

They'll not see these activities as chores, especially if they see you doing them happily, and wanting to do them...they'll see moving as something that you value and think worth doing. And because kids want to be involved with their parents, they'll start doing them too.

It's a lot of fun to get out there and play a little soccer, or basketball with the for them and you. Even just five minutes, both of you will feel the difference.

Let's change the child obesity statistics, let's get the children playing more, moving more...and us too!

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