Posts Tagged ‘ kids 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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Vigorous Exercise Program Helps Kids Lose Fat, Improve Heart Strength

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

An after-school exercise program has shown promising results in helping children lose weight and improve heart and lung strength.  More from Reuters:

It’s clear that activity is good for kids, lead author Naiman A. Khan told Reuters Health. But he was surprised at just how much of a difference this program made.

“We saw their overall body fat, abdominal fat go down, and in the absence of the program kids actually increased in overall body fat,” said Khan, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For their study, the researchers randomly divided 220 kids ages eight and nine into two groups. One group participated in the FITKids program, which includes 70 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity five times per week for nine months, and the other group did not.

In the exercise group, kids did 20 to 25 minutes of health-related fitness activities plus 50 minutes of organized noncompetitive games meant to keep their hearts beating at 55 to 80 percent of their maximum heart rate.

That’s higher than most previous exercise studies have aimed for, which may be why this study got such good results, according to Dianne Stanton Ward of the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill.

Ward studies obesity prevention in children. She was not involved in the new research.

Image: Girl exercising, via Shutterstock

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Three Hours of Daily Exercise Recommended for Kids Under 6

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Children under the age of six should have at least three hours of exercise each day, according to a report written by a consortium of pediatric groups from the U.K., the U.S., and Australia.  Boston.com reports on the paper, which was published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine:

The new guidelines are partly in response to the soaring obesity rates among young children. For example, 26.7 percent of US children between the ages of two and five are obese or overweight, researchers Russell Pate and Jennifer O’Neill, of the University of South Carolina, wrote. Plus, studies have shown that young children rarely get the activity they need. According to studies using accelerometers (wristwatch-like devices that measure physical activity), preschool-age kids get only sporadic exercise, with very little of it vigorous. For children under six, experts generally advise a combination of light activity and energetic activity throughout the day.

The experts listed a number of activities that qualify for both the “light” and “energetic” categories, including walking, dancing, skipping rope, and hide-and-seek type games.

Image: Kids playing, via Shutterstock

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Study: Physical Fitness Can Improve Academic Performance

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A review of 14 scientific studies has found that regular physical exercise has benefits beyond cardiovascular health–it also can help kids perform better in the classroom.  The New York Times reports:

…all three of the studies that measured time spent in physical activity found it associated with academic performance, and the two rated highest in methodological quality confirmed a positive relationship between physical activity and school achievement.

The reasons for the connection are unknown, but the researchers suggest that exercise increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and may lead to increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins, important in stress reduction.

The lead author, Amika S. Singh, a senior researcher at VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said there was no evidence about exactly how much or what kind of exercise is beneficial. But, she added, “I think it’s healthy to look for a good balance between time spent in academic work and in physical activity.”

Image: Girl playing in the snow, via Shutterstock.

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