(CARLSBAD, CA) – You’ve heard it before. America’s kids are gaining weight. Our kids are eating too many unhealthy foods and getting too little exercise. The problem is all around us, and Americans are beginning to take notice. But, guess what? Obesity is not just an American problem after all.
The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded a study of 70,000 teens in 34 separate nations around the globe. The results are clear. One-third of children worldwide spend at least three hours per day in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing on computers. These hours don’t even include time spent doing homework.
It seems that a country’s economic status has no bearing on kids’ activity levels. The World Health Organization study shows that kids all the way from South America to Africa are not getting enough physical activity. Reasons cited by WHO for insufficient physical activity include urbanization, more access worldwide to cars and televisions, and a limited number of physical education classes.
Girls are particularly at risk, with only 15 percent of teenage females getting an adequate amount of exercise. Of the 34 countries included in the study, girls were more sedentary than boys in every single country, with the exception of Zambia.
In the United States, First Lady Michelle Obama has launched the Let’s Move organization, seeking to end the childhood obesity epidemic. New food labels, healthier school lunches, and additional opportunities for exercise are all part of the action plan to promote health and wellness among our nation’s youth.
Regardless of where you live, there are several steps that you can take right away to help your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews to get moving. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett suggests five ways to help get kids active today.
1. Talk about it. Before making new rules or attempting to form new habits, talk with your kids about the value of physical activity. Ask your kids for ideas about how they’d like to add more activity in their lives.
2. Set an example. Be a role model for your kids. Limit your screen time and get involved in some type of physical activity yourself.
3. Make it a family affair. Instead of going to the movies for your next family outing, take a bike ride, go hiking in the mountains, or toss around a Frisbee.
4. Limit screen time. Set a maximum amount of time for watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet. Consider banning TVs from your kids’ bedrooms. Kids who have TVs in their rooms tend to watch 1.5 more hours of television daily than those without bedroom TVs.
5. Get help. Find community events or resources designed just for kids. Give your kids a few choices. Whether they participate in a one mile neighborhood jog-a-thon, join a Junior Jazzercise class, or try out for the school soccer team, the point is to get them moving.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.