Posts Tagged ‘ family fitness ’

Is Your Parenting Style Creating Couch Potatoes?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Active ChildrenEvery mother or father has their own parenting style—each with its own pros and cons. But some parents who choose hyper-parenting (defined as “a child-rearing style in which parents are intensely involved in managing, scheduling, and enriching all aspects of their children’s lives”) may be raising kids who sit around too much.

A new study from Queen’s University in Ontario, has found a link between hyper-parents and their children being less physically active.

Children whose parents displayed extreme, attached parenting techniques (quite the opposite of free-range parenting!) ”spent less time outdoors, played fewer after-school sports, and were less likely to bike or walk to school, friends’ homes, parks and playgrounds than children with less-involved parents,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Researchers collected information from 724 parents with children between the ages of 7 and 12. Parents were given questionnaires to determine if their parenting style ranked within four categories of hyper-parenting: overprotective parents (aka. helicopter parents), overindulgent parents, overscheduled parents, and overly achievement-driven parents (aka. tiger moms). Approximately 40 percent of parents received high hyper-parenting scores, while only 6 percent had low scores.

Parents who received low to below-average hyper-parenting scores in all four categories had the most active kids. Although helicopter parenting was the most common style, it was not directly associated with physically active kids, but the other three styles were associated with fewer active kids. According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers concluded that “the difference between children in the low and high hyper-parenting groups was equivalent to about 20 physical-activity sessions a week.”

Less active children only fuels the ongoing issue of childhood obesity, so the more that is known about a child’s physical activity—or lack thereof—the better.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years

Image: Active children via Shutterstock

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Why Your Child’s Friends Can Help Them Exercise More

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Kids playing outsideThere’s no denying that children are heavily influenced by their friends—but as it turns out, not all peer pressure is negative. In fact, friends can influence each other positively, especially when it relates to mimicking a friend’s physical activity.

New research concludes that friends can influence a child to exercise. The study, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, asked 104 children and teens to list 10 potential benefits and 15 potential barriers to being physically active. The top reasons kids listed as impeding their activity included: feeling self-conscious, poor health, lack of enjoyment, and lack of self-discipline and energy.

“Children and teens who did physical activities with a friend were far less likely to cite barriers for not exercising, while family participation or encouragement did not have this effect,” reports Health Day.

Of the participants with the highest level of activity, 76 percent reported being physically active with their friends.

“Having physically active friends may make it easier for obese children to get involved with activities and lower the perceived barriers for doing so, while having a physically-active family may not be as inspiring,” says Jessica Graus Woo, the study’s author and an associate professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

Though parents may focus on giving encouragement and setting a good example as ways to help a child exercise and be mindful of weight issues, this research shows that your child’s social circle is an important influence.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving
Best Toys That Get Kids Moving

Image: Friends playing outside via Shutterstock

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Obese Girl Loses 65 Pounds, Family Walks Called Key

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

At 9 years old, Breanna Bond weighed 186 pounds, a number that had her doctor and her family alike worried for her health in an age of childhood obesity and rampant Type II diabetes that affects an estimated 12.5 million U.S. children. As CNN.com reports, the involvement of the whole family was the key motivating factor that helped Breanna shed 65 pounds:

“Conversations about a child’s weight can be fraught with psychological landmines, says Dr. Denise Wilfley, director of the Weight Management & Eating Disorders Program at Washington University School of Medicine.

“Mainly what we suggest is actually having the whole family take on a healthier lifestyle — for everybody to eat as well as possible, as nutritiously as possible, so the overweight child is not singled out,” she says.

Wilfley encourages parents in her programs to “walk the walk” and be a role model for their children. She talks about food as energy for kids’ bodies — eating better will help them think harder, jump higher, play more.

Her families try to follow the traffic light diet, with green-light foods such as vegetables, yellow-light foods such as lean protein and red-light foods such as sweets or simple carbohydrates.

“We focus a lot on not defining self-worth by the number on the scale,” she says. “The best way to prevent eating disorders is having very healthy eating patterns.”

[Heidi] Bond realized that in order to get [her daughter] Breanna to exercise regularly, they would had to make it a family activity. The Bonds started walking four miles, four days a week, on a trail near their home in Clovis, California.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Bond says. “There were times where she refused to move.” But in the end, “a little tough love to save the rest of their life” was worth it, she says.

It’s best to avoid a power struggle when it comes to exercise and healthy eating, according to Jelalian. She says it’s easy for parents to become the “food police” without getting at the deeper issues. Parents should ask why a child wants a certain food or doesn’t want to work out and problem-solve with them to find a healthy alternative.

She recommends parents give their kids a choice as much as possible — not about being active or not active, but about what activity they want to do.

“It really takes that balance in parenting of being firm — this part is not negotiable, but being warm, caring in how you do that.”

Identifying your child’s motivation for losing weight is key, Wilfley says. Do they want to be able to run faster? Play football? Avoid teasing at school? Combining that goal with incentives such as sleepovers or family outings should help to keep a child motivated.”

Image: Family nature walk, via Shutterstock

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