There’s an alarming number of children that are either overweight or obese in this country. Part of the problem is to do with the ease and affordability of fast foods and part of it is to do with the belief that you need a gym and expensive equipment in order to stay in shape.
This misconception about keeping fit needs to be put to rest once and for all. If kids aren’t signed up for soccer, karate or tennis lessons, then they don’t know what to do with themselves. If you’re from a low-income family, this belief can seriously hamper a child’s activity and fitness levels. In this case, there’s an absence of exercise. The belief that you need a facility and money to sign up to a club in order to stay in shape is killing the motivation of most teenagers these days.
In a recent study out of Michigan State University, published in the Journal of School Nursing, sixth-grade boys were studied in an after-school exercise program. These boys were divided into seven focus groups and scientists measured their attitudes towards physical activity.
“Recent data show less than 12 percent of boys at this age are reaching federal recommendations for physical activity. There is an urgent need to intervene as soon as boys reach middle school to help prevent long-term health problems.”
Boys of this age should exercise at least one hour a day, but the study found that the majority preferred video games to actual exercise. Others identified a lack of equipment and places to exercise was a major drawback.
“Although boys are more active, only a small percentage engages in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. A lot of boys in both single- and dual-working parent homes care for themselves after school while their parents are at work. Many have limited opportunities for physical activity that are safe, accessible and affordable; this type of situation can lead to unhealthy eating habits.”
While this study spurned plans to develop more after-school programs to encourage exercise among adolescent boys, there is still a need to educate kids on how to exercise at home. You don’t need a lot of space or equipment to stay in shape. There are many household objects that can double as weights and there are enough bodyweight exercises to compose a decent circuit training program. This kind of attitude needs to be instilled in kids.
“Clearly, to reach boys at this age, we need to offer physical activities that are fun and appealing, providing a viable alternative to the sedentary activities they enjoy now. In addition, at this age group, it is critical to have someone serving as a source of help or motivation.”
Motivation is a challenge for the majority of people, no matter what age they are. Having support systems in place for kids at school is one way to instill healthy practices and habits that will carry over into their adult lives.
“School nurses can work with principals, classroom teachers, physical education teachers and the school board to raise awareness about the need for and details of effective programs. Innovative strategies are needed to enhance nurses’ visibility as resources in helping students achieve physical activity recommendations.”
Originally published @ FITLODE.COM