Let's Move! Fighting Childhood Obesity

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the last 30 years. Data from a 2015-2016 CDC study shows that nearly one in every five school age children and young people between the ages of 6 and 19 in the United States is obese, which adds up to 13.7 million children and adolescents who are affected by the epidemic.

This staggering number exposes millions of our kids to higher incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and joint pain, both now and in their future. There is much focus on diet to help improve a child’s bottom line but today we are going to talk about adding movement to a child’s daily routine.

Lack of exercise is a major factor in childhood obesity; one in every four kids in this country isn’t getting enough physical activity. Experts recom-mend 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day that is strenuous enough to raise a child’s heart rate. Exercise can be broken up into 15 minutes increments—it certainly does not need to be done all at once.

What is considered moderate? A good rule of thumb is the “talk test.” If your child is able to converse easily while exercising, encourage them to move a little faster. It's okay for kids to breath harder, and it's fine for them to sweat a little; both are indications that they are boosting their metabolism rate and stimulating cardiovascular fitness.

We need for our kids to buy into what is good for them. Your idea of exercise may not be their idea of a good time, but playing outdoors is probably one of the best options. Studies have shown that kids who spend time outside are less likely to be overweight by 27 to 41 percent. Not only are they getting some sunshine, but many local parks have ladders to climb, swings to swing on, and other kids to play with.

What does your child think is fun? Maybe games that involve running and chasing, dancing around the house to their favorite music, setting up an impromptu obstacle course, or role playing their favorite books or shows. Some children like bike riding or jumping rope. Or how about a trampoline? My kids love it!

Older tweens and teens might opt for the skill-building and teamwork required of orga-nized sports like baseball, soccer, or hockey. Others might prefer individual activities like swimming, ice skating, skateboarding, bike riding, dancing, martial arts, skiing or snowboarding, exercise classes, cheerleading, or gymnastics.

The key is improving their circulation. In acupuncture, we emphasize proper blood flow to strengthen of the circulatory system and boost digestive function. Acupuncture is also beneficial for regulating the nervous system and it helps reduce the stress that comes with learning the ropes as an adolescent.

At Tao of Wellness, we treat kids of all ages, and for a variety of issues including overweight and obesity. Many parents are concerned about their children’s perceived fear of needles, but if there is that fear, there are a variety of ways we can treat kids without needles. We often use pediatric massage known as Tuina, teach them chi gong movement exercises, or employ Infinichi energy healing, and Chinese herbal medicine. Talk to your practitioner today to see if we can help with any concerns about your child’s health.